A review of things you need to know before you go home Friday; ASB cuts mortgage rate, FEI ends deposit special, building consents at record high; business confidence stays high, a trade surplus, swaps and NZD slip

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

MORTGAGE RATE CHANGES
ASB has a new lower one year fixed rate ‘special’ of 4.45%. This is the lowest rate for this term for any bank except HSBC Premier. ASB has a similar rate advantage now for 18 mths, 2 years and 4 years fixed.

DEPOSIT RATE CHANGES
FE Investments 8 month special has now ended.

RECORD HIGH I
New dwellings consents came in +10% higher in March than the same month a year ago. But the rise in the Auckland component is still not enough to solve Auckland’s housing shortage. Consents for dwellings were strong in Hamilton, Tauranga and Christchurch. They remain very light in Wellington. Overall, the value of these consents were a new monthly record high. (Volumes were not a new record, however.)

RECORD HIGH II
Non-residential building consents also hit all-time record high. The increase was broad based, and pushes the focus to the construction industry’s capacity to deliver all this new work.

PETERS & ACT RISE
It’s election year and the latest political poll shows a rise for NZ First but with little change for the other left/right groups. Based on this poll, New Zealand First would be in the box seat to decide next NZ Government. Although minor, ACT registered its strongest in this poll since the last election.

A GOODS TRADE SURPLUS
There was a $332 mln trade surplus in March, almost double the level for the same period a year ago. Exports were at their highest level since March 2014; imports were their highest since December 2016. The annual merchandise trade result however is a deficit to March of -$3.7 bln, which is offset in part by our services surplus.

ON AND ON, BUT AGEING
Although they slipped just a little, business confidence levels remain quite elevated, as reported in the monthly ANZ survey. They say: “The economy is into its eighth year of economic expansion and while business confidence is well off its peak, survey indicators are still pointing to solid growth. Firms are optimistic about their own businesses, and still want to hire and invest. Readings remain elevated. Our composite growth indicator is pointing to 3½-4% growth.”

THE COMEBACK KID ?
Japan’s improving economic outlook has lowered risks over the trajectory of public debt. Revised economic data show the economy is larger and growing at a faster rate than previously indicated. This is enough for ratings agency Fitch to upgrade their outlook to ‘stable’ from ‘negative’ for their A rating.

UPSIDE ?
The latest price monitoring by the USDA of dairy prices reinforced the rise-and-rise of butter prices, but indicated little change from what the last auction’s results showed. The derivatives market is signalling WMP prices still have +4.4% to gain to meet their bids, even if those bids are slipping a little.

OCKER PARTY OVER ?
Data for the first 27 days of April from CoreLogic show Sydney house prices declining by -0.1% for the first time since December 2015, while Melbourne’s property prices have risen by +0.5%, but that is now only half as much as for March.

MISLEADING FARMERS IS COSTLY
Aussie dairy co-operative Murray Goulburn is facing court action after the ACCC alleged it misled farmers about prices it would pay for milk.

WHOLESALE RATES SLIP
Rates for terms of 2 years and longer are all down another -1 bp today. The 90 day bank bill has risen by +1 bp and is now 1.98%

NZ DOLLAR SLIPS TOO
There has been resumed slippage for the Kiwi dollar today today and it is now down to 68.7 USc. Against the AUD, we are slightly weaker also at 92 AUc. Against the EUR we are slightly softer as well at 63.2 euro cents. The TWI-5 is now at 73.5.

You can now see an animation of this chart. Click on it, or click here.

Daily exchange rates

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for(i=0;i

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