US housing starts slip; factory output up; Canada factory output up; Japan shrinks; UK calls for accounting firm breakups; Aussie wage growth tame; UST 10yr at 3.10%; oil up and gold unchanged; NZ$1 = 69.1 USc; TWI-5 = 72

Here's our summary of key events overnight that affect New Zealand, with news benchmark interest rates are still rising.

But American housing starts fell in April from March, and to much lower levels than expected, signaling factors such as rising material and construction labour costs are holding down home building despite solid buyer demand. But they are still almost +11% higher compared to April 2017. Building permit growth showed less variation.

Meanwhile, American industrial production increased solidly in April, up +3.5% from the same month a year ago amid an acceleration in both manufacturing and mining output. But that is lower growth than the +4.5% pa recorded in April 2017.

North, Canadian manufacturing rose more than expected in the March quarter, but at a much slower growth pace than the December quarter.

Japan's economy shrank in the first quarter of 2018 for the first time in two years, ending the longest stretch of economic growth since the 1980s. The world's third largest economy contracted at an annualised rate of -0.6%, official data showed. Weak consumption came at a time Japan's export engine is in transition. The weakness is not expected to last long.

There were no surprises in the latest report on EU inflation; it is plodding along at a low +1.2% rate.

In the UK, there are calls to break up the major accounting firms, including KPMG, EY, Deloittes and PwC. They are accused of being inherently unable to perform their roles properly of being an outside independent challenge to corporate management, unable to identify strategic corporate failings. They have been called a "cosy club".

In Argentina, their currency and debt crisis has receded just a little bit. It has managed to refinance all of the US$26 bln of peso-denominated securities, known as Lebacs, that are set to expire this week. And it raised another US$200 mln. But the interest rates for achieving this ranged from 40% for the 36-day Lebac to 38% for the 154-day note. The pressure is not over yet. Turkey is another emerging economy that is on the ropes. Together, they have the capacity to roil the international financial system, triggered by fast rising US interest rates. Some big investors are losing some big money on these problems. But not all emerging market economies are caught up in this.

In Australia, wage growth data came in much weaker than expected. Their hourly rates of pay rose +2.6% in the year to March, but only +2.1% if bonuses are excluded. That's the second weakest rise in 20 years. Bonuses make up a larger portion of private sector pay than public sector pay across the ditch.

The UST 10yr yield is now at 3.10%, up +2 bps today. According to some analysts, it is on its way to 3.50%. The Chinese 10yr is at 3.72% (unchanged) while the New Zealand equivalent is at 2.82% (up +5 bps).

Gold is staying low at US$1,291/oz in New York, uchanged today.

Oil prices are up again and are now just over US$71.50/bbl in the US and the Brent benchmark is now just over US$79/bbl.

The Kiwi dollar has recovered some of its weakness and is now at 69.1 USc. On the cross rates we are up almost +1c at 92.8 AUc and ½ c at 58.4 euro cents. That puts the TWI-5 just on 72.

Bitcoin is now at US$8,319 and that is down -2.3% from this time yesterday.

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21 Comments

Changes to Kiwisaver in the Budget today?
Restoration of the full $1024 ‘tax credit’ perhaps?

any more gusses?

They might increase KiwiSaver employer contributions tax rates to 39% flat.

You're onto it

With full backing of the opposition. Well no, the opposition will rip it to shreds for being less than 40%.

Perhaps allow us poor self-employed saps a tax break or two? Hahahaha

Business expense claims are sort of a tax break. I'm not self employed, therefore I can't claim a percentage of my mortgage, rates, travel back.

My boss at a previous company used to claim his lunches with his wife. He'd just pretend he had a customer along. Crazy.

Yeah but self employed people have to fully cover their own pensions, sickness, insurance and losses. Offsetting a few lunches is comparatively minor.

Agree and don't forget they also have to front up for ACC bills

I'm not complaining about the ability to offset business expenses. It's more the pretending personal spending is a business expense that is dodgy.

Yeah and employed people pull sickies and get paid for it.

There are always ways that people take advantage. Overall, I don't think that self employed people somehow have more advantages than employed people. Unless of course their self employment is property investment, in which case they have enjoyed significant tax advantages.

Forget the budget , rising costs of borrowing are likely to wreak far more havoc on an indebted population (or Government) than 12 cents a ltire in fuel

The Fed 10 year rate heading for 3,5% could be a big problem for us .

It will cause investors in the Kiwi$ to move to US$ in pursuit of yield , unless we offer the same or more , and that means more expensive money for home-owners , and those with vehicle finance and overdrafts.

You have been warned

Anemic wage inflation is the threat the policymakers should seriously focus on.
Our economic success is heavily dependent on consumption; household consumption makes up 56% of our economy (Stat NZ numbers on GDP). If accommodation, borrowing and fuel costs continue to outstrip wage inflation at the current or an estimated increased pace, we could see a drastic fall in household consumption.
This could mean serious trouble since we are a low saving nation as a whole.

But National left the country on such a sound financial footing, surely a rise in interest rates will not cause any wobbles? Oh that's right mortgages indebtedness and little or no wage growth. Back to my reading..

ah, where is my Donkey who assured his folk that higher interest rates are not going to happen in the foreseeable future???

“China, Russia and other authoritarian countries inflate their official GDP figures by anywhere from 15 to 30 percent in a given year, according to a new analysis of a quarter-century of satellite data.”
https://m.sfgate.com/business/article/Satellite-data-strongly-suggests-t...

The US is "calling the kettle black".
Does anyone for example trust their unemployment figures?

Antonymouse, this is not the US calling anyone anything, and by US I assume you mean a White House statement.

It's a publication from a researcher called Luis R. Martinez from the University of Chicago. You may not agree with the findings, but at least read the article and judge the methodology and results on their own merits.

Yeah. There was a Bloomberg analysis last year on the inconsistency of China's high GDP growth figure of 6.8-7.5% in the past decade when compared with their industrial output, personal consumption, PMI etc. stats.

I agree with you that the White House may have lost all credibility in making informed statements but their academics and independent government agencies are still sharp as ever.