A review of things you need to know before you go home on Thursday; labour market scorecard; Bridges' expenses; cruise spending; bond tender; Australian unemployment; rates and NZD stable

Here are the key things you need to know before you leave work today.

No changes today.

ASB, TSB and Nelson Building Society have decreased some of their term deposit rates. See new rates here and here.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) today released the Labour Market Scorecard for the June 2018 quarter. The labour market was steady over the quarter. Labour demand was steady, with the employment rate unchanged at 67.7 per cent over the quarter leading to 2.63 million people in employment. Labour market matching was steady, and the unemployment rate rose slightly to 4.5 per cent in the June 2018 quarter. Labour supply was broadly flat. The participation rate increase slightly to 70.9 per cent this quarter. Workplace performance has improved and there are now more people in skilled employment. The average ordinary time hourly earnings increased by 3.0 per cent to $31.00 over the year to June 2018.

Parliament's Speaker Trevor Mallard will appoint a Queens Council (QC) to investigate the leaking of National Leader Simon Bridges’ expense accounts to media. As well as a QC, Mallard will request a forensic IT expert to join the investigation too. “In my opinion, someone has deliberately undermined either an individual or the system and I want us to get to the bottom of it,” he told media. As part of the investigation, MPs will need to sign a waiver of consent to have their computers searched – Mallard will ask Bridges to ensure all his MPs sign that waiver.

An increase in the number of cruise voyages and passengers boosted cruise ship expenditure to $434.0 million in the year ended June 2018, Stats NZ said today. Total cruise expenditure was up 18.3 percent ($67.1 million) following a 9.9 percent increase in the June 2017 year. The spending component by cruise visitors in New Zealand climbed to $284.0 million in the June 2018 year, up 31.8 percent ($68.6 million). This follows a 0.6 percent decrease in visitor spending in 2017, after a fall in cruise passenger numbers that year. Since 2015, spending by cruise visitors has increased 54.2 percent ($99.9 million). Vessel spend associated with services, including bunkering (fuel), provided to cruise ships visiting New Zealand totalled $106.6 million, down 10.0 percent ($11.9 million). GST from cruise visitor spending contributed a further $43.4 million to total expenditure. Auckland and Tauranga had the largest total spending by port. In the year ended June 2018, spending in Auckland totalled $131.4 million (up 11.2 percent) with Tauranga recording $65.9 million (down 3.0 percent).

$150 mln worth of 2037 Government bonds were issued by tender today. The bonds carry a coupon of 2.75% and generated a yield of 2.89%. The coverage ratio for the tender was 2.47x.

Seasonally adjusted employment decreased by 3,900 persons from June to July 2018. The underlying composition of the net change was an increase of 19,300 persons in full-time employment and a decrease of 23,200 persons in part-time employment. Since July 2017, full-time employment increased by 194,700 persons, while part-time employment increased by 105,600 persons. Seasonally adjusted monthly hours worked in all jobs increased by 4.0 million hours (or 0.2 per cent) in July 2018 to 1,749.6 million hours. The seasonally adjusted employment to population ratio decreased by 0.1 percentage point to 62.1 per cent in July 2018, and increased by 0.5 percentage points from the same time last year. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased by 0.1 percentage point to 5.3 in July 2018. The participation rate decreased by 0.2 percentage points to 65.5 per cent.

Wholesale swap rates are little changed across the curve today today. The UST 10yr is a little firmer at 2.88%, down -1 bp from this time yesterday. The Aussie Govt 10yr is at 2.57% (unchanged today), the China Govt 10yr is at 3.61% (up +2 bps), while the NZ Govt 10 yr is now at 2.60%, down -1 bps. The 90 day bank bill rate is down -1 bp to 1.90%.

The bitcoin price is now at US$6,275, largely unchanged from this time yesterday.

The NZD is up slightly against the USD at 65.8 USc. On the cross rates we are at 90.6 AUc and 57.9 euro cents. That puts the TWI-5 at 69.9.

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Today the government, under urgency, passed the amendments to NAIT legislation - without any public consultation. It is likely to take effect on Monday - immediately it is signed by the Governor General. This is happening despite OSPRI, who run NAIT, advising that it will take 6-8months for their system to be ready to cope with what the Amendment requires. It also gives MPI officers MORE power than the police to search and take assets from farms/lifestyle blocks/vineyards etc without warrants. (In case you are wondering why vineyards, some vineyards graze sheep under the vines after harvest/over winter)
Labour and the Greens voted against the Search and Surveillance Act when it was introduced and yet today, they, along with NZ First voted to have NAIT and the various primary industry sectors bound by the same non warrant search and seize rights as that Act allows.
It was obvious listening to the debate that majority of MPs do not understand the difference between m bovis and foot and mouth - the key one being foot and mouth has very definite symptoms and is easily noted/identified. m Bovis on the other hand doesn't and neither are the tests for it accurate.
It was also stated in parliament today that NAIT servers are struggling to keep up with the information being loaded at present. Given how long the disease has been in NZ it would have made much more sense to have run the Amendments through a complete select committee process including consultation - most MPs today from government appeared to be naively voting for something for which they had no real understanding at all. Rural NZ has had no information on the implementation of this legislation and it will be interesting to see what the govt does in order to inform it of the new rules.

Sheep are not governed by Nait, at least not yet .

correct - not yet though sheep can be infected by m bovis. ;-) Given the issue MPI have had handling it in cattle IMO they aren't interested in looking at it in other species.

they're not letting a crisis go to waste.

Tonga PM Calls on China to Write-off Pacific Debt - https://www.voanews.com/a/tonga-china-debt/4529121.html
And here's the Samoa Observer featuring one Winston Peters http://www.samoaobserver.ws/en/16_08_2018/local/35951/Address-debt-at-leadership-level.htm

Do you think we will be next, our householders screaming for forgiveness?


Foreign buyer bill was passed yesterday without any subsequent collapse in the dollar today. Which is positive. Does anyone have any information as to whether there was any notable changes in normal trading volumes between us and our significant currency trading partners?

And this Turkish fiasco is again wreaking havoc with emerging markets today ........... so much so that the EU is , according to reports "terrified " of a Turkish meltdown , for 2 reasons , firstly the EU bank exposures and secondly the refugee deal could get scuppered

Turkey is in a Classic Squeeze/Pincer movement....
From the East - China will buy Turkey on the cheap
and from the West - because OBOR is gonna be needed to expedite all that EU-China trade and guess who's in the middle

Gubmint Budget update (usually Friday but MEL beckons...)

TWI - 71.83, Treasury BEFU assumption 'around 75'
WTI - 65.08 Treasury BEFU assumption 'around 60'