A review of things you need to know before you go home on Friday; population grows, spending does not, climate adaption, currency swap activity rises, NZD falls

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

TODAY’S MORTGAGE RATE CHANGES
SBS Bank today reduced and extended its home loan ‘special’ rates. It has adopted 4.69% for terms 1, 2 and 3 years, and added a 5.39% 6 month ‘special’.

TODAY’S DEPOSIT RATE CHANGES
Westpac followed up its recent mortgage rate cuts with a set of small term deposit cuts, mainly for terms 1 year and longer.

19.2% OF AUSTRALIA
New Zealand’s population is growing at its fastest rate for over a decade, and is exceeding Australia’s growth rate, according to new estimates from Stats NZ. There are now 4.6 mln of us having just risen above that level in the past fortnight. (There are 23.9 mln people in Australia.) Not that long ago we said Australia was six times as big as New Zealand. Now its five times.

SPENDING RECESSION NOT HERE YET
Retail spending growth slowed sharply in the June quarter, dampened by the rebound in petrol prices. Westpac said “at this stage we are seeing a softening in spending – not a collapse. However, we do expect to see a more pronounced weakening in demand in the economy over the coming months.” Spending on durable goods, especially, is expected to slow in coming months.

ADAPTION
The huge farmer cooperative Central Plains Water scheme was officially opened today in Canterbury, on time and on budget. Stage 1 irrigates about 20,000 ha of farmland and Stage 2 has gotten support from coop members. This second stage will irrigate another 30,000 ha. The scheme should make a key part of the east coast of the South Island more resilient to the impending El Nino.

HESITATION
Standard & Poors followed up yesterday’s downgrade signal for Fonterra by cutting the stand alone credit profiles of most major banks and some others. Their issuer ratings remain unchanged. They said the action was because of concerns about the Auckland housing market.

A KEY TRADE
A rise in currency swap transactions saw monthly trading volumes on the foreign currency markets for the NZD rise to $256 bln in July. Still, that has been a pretty normal level since the start of the GFC. (In the four years prior to 2009 they averaged over $300 bln per month.)

WHOLESALE RATES UNCHANGED
Swap rates were pretty much unchanged today. But the 90 day bank bill rate is down another -2 bps to 2.94%.

NZ DOLLAR HOLDS
The NZ dollar has fallen today to 65.2 USc, down against the Aussie at 88.6 AUc, and down to 58.5 euro cents. The TWI is at 69.8 and its lowest since May 2012. 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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