A review of things you need to know before you go home on Friday; another mortgage rate rises, another savings account cut, S&P likes NZ, McClay working in Davos, swaps steepen, NZD rises

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

MORTGAGE RATE CHANGES
AMP Home Loans (a channel managed by Kiwibank) is raising 2, 3 and 5 year fixed rates on Monday, they advised today. The rises are between +16 and +30 bps. The Police Credit Union also raised both its fixed and floating mortgage rates.

DEPOSIT RATE CHANGES
BankDirect advised that its call account rate has been reduced by -25 bps to just 10 bps. We expect the same change will soon be announced by ASB.

BIG BUCKS
The value of all our houses has been growing by $2.7 bln per week, to surpass NZ$1 trillion in the September quarter. Meanwhile the number of houses sold fell 20% in the quarter.

THEY LIKE US
S&P Global Ratings affirmed its ‘AA’ foreign currency and ‘AA+’ local currency long-term sovereign credit ratings on New Zealand. The Outlook is ‘Stable’. They say the rating affirmation reflects the country’s monetary and fiscal policy flexibility, economic resilience, and public policy stability. Moderating these strengths are New Zealand’s very high external imbalances, its high household and agriculture sector debt, its dependence on commodity income, and risks to its financial system stability.

HAPPY WORKERS
The Westpac McDermott-Miller employment confidence index rose to an eight year high in December.

GETTING BETTER RETURNS
The Treasury has today released a report cataloging significant Government investment projects and exploring ways of lifting their performance.

OUR MAN IN DAVOS
Our trade minister is in Davos. He is working 😉 New Zealand and Sri Lanka have agreed to look at ways to grow the $300 mln trade between us, possibly with a free trade agreement. He also is claiming agreement on the next steps for the newly established NZ-UK Trade Policy Dialogue, also from Davos.

NZ MAMMAL POPULATION FALLING
Between 2006 and 2016 the number of sheep in New Zealand fell from just over 40 mln to less than 28 mln today. In the year to 30 June 2016, beef cattle and deer numbers also fell, but the number of dairy cattle remained steady – at 6.5 mln. Between 2006 and 2016, the human population rose from 4.2 mln to 4.6 mln. So that means the large mammal population in the country actually fell -22.3% even though the human component rose +12% in the same decade period. (The dairy cow population rose +26%, but the beef cattle population fell -22%, the deer population fell -46%, and the pig population fell -25%.) That is actually more than -12 mln fewer large mammals here in ten years.

SOCIAL HOUSING DEMAND AT RECORD LEVELS
The number of people and families seeking social housing on the Housing Register at the end of December was 4,771, up 169 or about +4% on the previous quarter. Another 1,339 people and their families – already in social housing – are seeking a transfer to another property.

IT’S A START
New Zealand’s electric vehicle fleet has now reached more than 2,500, exceeding official targets.

FAST TRACK
China’s economy grew at an official +6.8% in the fourth quarter of 2016 from a year earlier, slightly more than expected. It was supported by higher government spending and record bank lending that has stoked concerns about an explosive rise in debt.

WHOLESALE RATES STEEPEN FURTHER
Swap rates rose and steepened again today. The one year is down -1 bp, the two year is up +1 bps, the five year is up +3 bps and the ten year is up another +4 bps. The 90 day bank bill down -2 bps to 1.97%.

NZ DOLLAR RISES
Our currency has put on some value since about 2pm today, up almost 1c. The NZD is now at 72.2 USc. On the cross rates, we at 95.2 AUc, and at 67.6 euro cents. The TWI-5 index is at 77.9. Check our real-time charts here.

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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