A review of things you need to know before you go home on Friday; Some minor rate changes, tourism keeps on booming, dry in North, wool prices crashing, swaps inch up, NZD stays high

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

MORTGAGE RATE CHANGES
NZCU South has riased rates.

DEPOSIT RATE CHANGES
Westpac, Kiwibank and the Police Credit Union has all raised term deposit rates today.

REGIONS BEAT THE MAIN CENTRES
It is the New Zealand regions that are really benefiting from fast-rising tourism numbers. In the year to December the fastest growing region was Nelson, which increased +15% over the year to $340 mln, followed by West Coast, up +13% to $488 mln and Otago up +12% to $3.5 bln.

WHY THERE IS A HOTEL BUILDING BOOM
Delayed data from Statistics NZ shows that international visitors have again pushed up guest-night numbers, particularly for motels and hotels. National guest nights for October 2016 were +6% higher than in October 2015. Occupancy rates were up to 40.9%, an industry average level we have never seen before. (Ten years ago it was 34%, twenty years ago it was 29% in October.)

A NEW MAKHLOUF DEPUTY
Bryan Chapple has been appointed as the Treasury’s new Deputy Secretary, Macroeconomics and Growth. He is moving from MBIE where he is Head of the Office of the Chief Executive and prior to that, General Manager, Strategic Policy. Prior to MBIE, he held a range of policy and economic functions at the Ministry of Economic Development, De Nederlandsche Bank (the Dutch Central Bank), the Bank of England, and the Reserve Bank of New Zealand.

GETTING DESPERATE
It is very dry in the Far North. And the Council up there is accusing residents of stealing up to 90,000 litres of water in Okaihau and Rawene to top up low personal supplies. Although there was some welcome rain in the past week, it is looking very dry from here on. The Council has an extensive ban in place for many water uses.

WOOL PRICES CRASHING
Crossbred wool prices are crashing and are now at levels last seen 10 years ago. This is because there is now little interest by Chinese buyers, and the stronger currency is sapping demand from other sources. Lambs wool is especially weak with the majority passed in at the North Island sale this week and most of the lambs are still to be shorn. Prices are so low, some farmers will not cover their costs of shearing, packs, cartage and selling, let alone the annual effort to grow the crop.

UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCE
China is now saying its birth rate is too low. It is worries that even at the increased rate following the relaxation of the brutal one-child policy, births are running below replacement levels. They are ageing fast and faster than their wealth is growing. The drive is now on for more babies and a new policy is for two-child families. Even so, that will deliver only 20 mln new babies per year, much more than previously, but still too few to change the prospects of a falling population and one that ages very fast. A winner out of this new focus on new babies will be New Zealand infant formula producers and infant food producers as well. The new changed population policy will be very expensive to implement.

WHOLESALE RATES INCH UP
Even though the benchmark rates on Wall Street were pretty much unchanged earlier today, local swap rates have risen especially at the long end. They are up +1 bp for two years, up +1 bp for five years, and up +2 bps for ten years. The cumulative rise is still building. The 90 day bank bill is unchanged however 1.98%.

NZ DOLLAR STAYS HIGH
The Kiwi dollar has slipped a little against the greenback and is now at 72.5 USc level. The NZD is not at 72.9 USc. On the cross rates, we are still high at 96.2 AUc, and at 67.9 euro cents. The TWI-5 index is now at 78.2. 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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