A review of things you need to know before you go home on Friday; Westpac cuts savings rates, commodity prices step back, used imports high but stop growing, swap rates jump

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

TODAY’S MORTGAGE RATE CHANGES
There are no changes to report today.

TODAY’S DEPOSIT RATE CHANGES
Westpac today cut a range of savings and at-call account rates by -20 bps, leaving the new rate for many of these products at about 2%.

NOV = SEPT
After two back-to-back gains, the ANZ Commodity Price Index faltered in November, with prices down -5.6%. Falls were evident for dairy, beef, wool and aluminium. While the NZD fell -1.6% against the USD, it was little changed on most other crosses and strengthened against the EUR. As such, NZD prices fell -4.5%.

AT THE SUMMIT?
There was an echo in the new vehicle sales data earlier in the week with the release of the used imports data today. These came in at 11,620 for the month of November, just marginally softer than expected, but still high. This leaves the impression that car sales are now topping out and we are at a point of ‘as-good-as-it-gets’.

CONSUMER STRENGTH
Aussie retail sales rose more than expected in October according to official data out today. They were up +4.6% year-on-year overall, with especially strong rises for household goods (+6.8%), apparel (+5.4% and department stores (+5.9%). Laggards were food retailing (supermarkets) and restaurants/cafes.

CONSUMERS FIGHT BACK
As many as 90% of Australian households are looking to renewable energy alternatives such as solar panels and also battery storage or smart meters as they seek to counter the rise in their power prices, according to a survey by Energy Consumers Australia. Those rises have been steep over the ditch, in contrast to New Zealand where we have seen very little increase. But despite this, consumers here are finding the sharp fall in global solar equipment costs and capacity are making it more viable here too. The Government should have sold out of the SOE electricity companies completely; their profitable future is under attack.

ANOTHER $100 MIL
Spark Finance today announced that it has issued NZ$100 mln of fixed rate bonds. The margin for the bonds has been set at 1.15% pa and the interest rate has been set at 4.51% pa.

WHOLESALE RATES JUMP
Local wholesale swap rates rose strongly today reflecting the sharp moves higher we saw on Wall Street last night. There is also a strong steepening bias. 2 year swaps rose +2 bps while 10 yr swaps rose +8 bps. The 90 day bank bill rate is unchanged at 2.88%.

NZ DOLLAR HOLDS
The Kiwi is now at 66.8 USc, at 91.1 AUc, and 61.2 euro cents, with the lower rate against the euro bedding in following the unexpected ECB non-action last night. The TWI-5 is now back at 71.8. Check our real-time charts here.

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

And don’t forget to make history and vote in the Flag Referendum.

Daily exchange rates

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var chart_subtitles_arr= ["Daily benchmark rate","Daily benchmark rate","Daily benchmark rate","Daily benchmark rate","Daily benchmark rate","Daily benchmark rate","Daily benchmark rate"];
var tab_titles_arr= ["US$","AU$","TWI","u00a5en","u00a5uan","u20acuro","GBP"];
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// to generate the format for date representation in x axis

var timestamweek = 604800000;
var timestamday = 86400000;
var timestammonth30 = 2592000000;
var timestammonth31 = 2678400000;
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var mm2 = time4.getMonth();
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//++++++++++++++++++++++++this for days conversion++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
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mm2 = "Feb";
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mm2 = "Mar";
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mm2 = "May";
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mm2 = "Oct";
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return 0;
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for(i=0;i

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