A review of things you need to know before you go home on Monday; interest rates and the NZD fall sharply, smaller deficit, healthy card spending, lower ACC premiums, low prices

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

TODAY’S MORTGAGE RATE CHANGES
Today, BNZ hit the home loan market with a new market low 2 year fixed rate of 5.15%. It is a ‘one week special’, and matches a similar one week special they had in April.

TODAY’S DEPOSIT RATE CHANGES
The Cooperative Bank today launched a 4.50% rate for a 4 month term deposit, also a market leading rate for that term.

A SMALL BUMP
An -0.8% drop in the value of core electronic card spending over April followed months of strong spending growth, and appears to be only a small dip in otherwise healthy levels of spending activity. Electronic card spending was up +4.2% year-on-year

CHANGING THEIR TUNE
Bank economists are now coming out with changed expectations and now expect the RBNZ to cut official interest rates, possibly as soon as June, and possibly followed by another drop in July. Markets are reacting.

BETTER BUT NOT GOOD ENOUGH
Treasury today reported that the Budget deficit was $856 mln better than forecast in the 9 months to March, but only due to ‘soaring tax revenues’ from corporates and SOEs. Finance minister English says despite the improvement they are still on track for 2014/15 deficit.

A NEW PLAN
The Government today released a major review of the standards for quake-prone commercial buildings and announced a 10-20 year delay to rules on assessing and fixing them. The anticipated costs for bringing them up to standard has been almost halved to $777 mln. Buildings in Auckland and Dunedin big winners because risks there have been deemed to be much lower.

DEFLATION
Next week’s Budget will signal that ACC is on track to provide more levy cuts of around $375 million in 2016/17 and $120 million in 2017/18, according to a statement today. That makes the total cuts almost $2 bln. As an example, this year the average ACC motor vehicle levy, including the annual license levy and petrol levy, will fall from around $330 to under $200 a year.

‘SLEEPING BEAUTY’
ANZ’s independent monthly monitoring of consumer inflation in April shows that falls in the housing, miscellaneous goods, and recreation & culture groups contributed to a -0.2% fall in their Monthly Inflation Gauge. Prices were flat excluding the housing group. Prices in the Gauge rose 1.0% in the three months to April. Over this time, pricing pressure remained housing and government charge-centric, with prices outside of these areas up just 0.1% in the three months to April. “We’ve seen enough across our four prongs (high NZD, dairy income squeeze, inevitability of a prudential response towards housing and continued low core inflation reads) to call the OCR lower;” they said.

WHOLESALE RATES TUMBLE
Yields fell very sharply on wholesale markets today. And the trend is flattening. In fact, two and three year swaps are down -7 bps, 4 and 5 year rates are down -8 bps and ten year rates are down -9 bps. The 90 day bank bill rate is also in on the act now at 3.54% down another -3 bps on the day.

NZ DOLLAR FALLS TOO
The New Zealand dollar has fallen sharply today as well, especially against the US dollar. As of late this afternoon it is at 73.8 USc and the lowest since mid-March, 94.4 AUc, 66.2 euro cents, and the TWI-5 is now at 77.5. 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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