A review of things you need to know before you go home on Monday; more rate cuts, loan shark sentenced, Orr leads IFSWF, car sales very high, swap rates fall, NZD rises

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

TODAY’S MORTGAGE RATE CHANGES
BNZ has launched a very low 2 year fixed rate of 4.39%.

TODAY’S DEPOSIT RATE CHANGES
Westpac has cut its term deposit rates (again) matching most of their main rivals. They also trimmed more off their ‘bonus saver’ rate, which is now just 3.30%, the lowest of any bank. That is really stretching the word ‘bonus’.

LOAN SHARK SENTENCED
Yuan Rong Yang, former owner of Sunway Finance and money lender to Auckland’s Chinese community for at least 17 years, has been fined $22,500 and banned from lending indefinitely in the Auckland District Court. Yang had earlier pleaded guilty to two charges brought by the Commerce Commission under the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act, relating to failing to provide key information to his customers about their loans. In addition to his fine and ban, he has been ordered to pay $3,000 to the complainant in this case and six other existing loan contracts have been quashed.

A LOT, BUT NOT ENOUGH
Today’s release of the FMA’s 2015 review of KiwiSaver funds puts their total value at $28.5 bln. The NZ Super Fund has another $29.5 bln. Between the two we have salted away $58 bln for future retirement liabilities. To put that in perspective that is now 24.1% of current nominal GDP. But even so, these combined funds now represent only 4.7 years of the 2015 cost of NZ Superannuation. The NZSF was established in 2003 while KiwiSaver started in 2007. Between them they have been in existence for ten years.

‘FIENDISHLY DIFFICULT’
Adrian Orr, chief of the Cullen Fund, has been appointed Chair of the International Forum of Sovereign Wealth Funds (IFSWF). The appointment, which is unpaid, is for a three-year term. He retains his NZ Super Fund role. The 28 members of the IFSWF manage state funds in excess of US$4 trillion. “We are all managers of others peoples’ money – a fiendishly difficult task,” he commented.

RISING PRICES
The cost of [healthy] groceries is rising, continuing a trend that started in early 2014. It is no longer cheaper to buy these groceries in New Zealand than Australia. Petrol prices are up from their January lows, but no where near back to their 2012-2014 levels.

BUBBLE SIGN ?
Last month’s new car sales were at their highest level in 29 years for a September month. The previous high was in 1986 – less than a year before the well-remembered 1987 equity market crash. Of the 8,835 new cars sold, 614 were VW or Audi and may have had diesel cheat devices installed. Commercial vehicle sales were strong too. 33% of all sales were SUVs.

NO REDUCTION YET
The gross Government debt is pretty much unchanged in September at $77.4 bln. (We will know whether the Government actually delivered a surplus in the year to June, 2015 by next Wednesday, October 14 when the audited accounts are released.)

WHOLESALE RATES
Following the weak US payrolls report on Saturday, local wholesale swap rates fell across the board -3 and -4 bps. And the 90 day bank bill rate is down too, off -1 bp to 2.82%.

NZ DOLLAR HIGHER
The Kiwi dollar has moved higher from Friday from the same influences that are reducing interest rates. It is currently at 64.6 USc, 91.4 AUc and 57.5 euro cents. The TWI-5 is 69.3. 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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