A review of things you need to know before you go home on Friday; bigger Govt deficit, affordability improves, log prices recover, tech solutions for Akl transport, swap rates fall and flatten, NZD goes nowhere

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

TODAY’S MORTGAGE RATE CHANGES
Nothing changed here today.

TODAY’S DEPOSIT RATE CHANGES
No changes to report here either.

LOSSES AND GAINS
We got two disparate signals on dairy prices today. Firstly the USDA monitoring of ‘Oceania pricing‘ showed some worrying weakness among the traders they monitor. WMP was down almost -9% from two weeks ago in NZ dollars. And cheese prices showed a large -11% thud as well in NZ dollars over the same period. But then, today’s dairy deriavtives trading suggests prices may have turned and the next GDT auction could see gains. Still than is ten days away yet and a lot can happen in that time.

DOWN BUT NOT OUT
As we reported earlier, the Government’s budget deficit through six months to December 2015 was a bit bigger than forecast on slowing ‘revenues’ other than taxes. But at least one analyst says there is potential for Bill English to repeat last year’s trick of pulling a narrow surplus from a widely forecast deficit, with stronger data in the first half of 2016.. Although the $176 mln surplus forecast in the BEFU was revised to a -$401 mln deficit in the HYEFU in December, Infometrics now expects a slim surplus to appear when the year end financial statements are published in October 2016.

TOUGH METRICS
Big drop in house prices good news for first home buyers in most places. That price drop along with lower interest rates has improved first home affordability in January, although Auckland remains severely unaffordable for most. The data highlights a tough reality; affordability will only improve in a realistic timeframe if house prices fall. Low interest rates and rising incomes will never combine to do the job. Boomers will resist, but losses for them is the only way.

BOUNCE BACK?
Log prices may be recovering. China’s log inventories are falling and prices are rising, but they are so far only back to November levels. India a new bright spot. Demand from both Japan and Korea is stable. And domestic demand remains strong. All this is giving price signals that are rising at the NZ wharf.

LOST, BUT FIGHTING ON
Forest & Bird today lost its appeal to the High Court challenging a DOC land-swap to get the Ruatanwha irrigation project underway in the Hawkes Bay. They are considering appealing to the next higher Court. They will be bolstered in that because costs are unlikely to be awarded against them in today’s decision.

TECH SOLUTIONS FOR AUCKLAND TRANSPORT
Auckland is facing growth by more than 700,000 people, and freight volumes are likely to increase by +78% by 2040 (in one generation). Work has started on solving the congestion issues with solutions other than (18th century) rail, and just more roading. Apps controlling smart or driverless cars, convoying, and ‘surge pricing’ are all likely to feature.

NZ AN OUTLIER
Equities in New Zealand are ending on a positive note, up +0.5% on the day. This contrasts with Australia which is down -0.6%, and is Hong Kong. Tokyo is down much sharper at -2%, while Shanghai is unchanged. Even Wall Street was down -0.5% earlier today.

WHOLESALE RATES FELL
NZ swap rates are lower and flatter today with some grunty changes. The one year swap fell -1 bp, the two year is down -3 bps, the five year fell -5 bps and the ten year fell -7 bps. The 90-day bank bill rate is unchanged at 2.60%.

NZ DOLLAR RANGES
The Kiwi dollar gain is still stuck in its current range. It is still at 66.2 USc, 93.1 AUc and the TWI-5 is now at 70.8. 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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