Here are the key things you need to know before you leave work today.
TODAY’S MORTGAGE RATE CHANGES
TSB Bank has cut their 6 month fixed rate to 4.99% from 5.29%. At 4.99% they join SBS Bank, Cooperative Bank and BNZ on that rate. But for a 6 month fixed term, ASB, ICBC and Kiwibank all have a lower rate. However, TSB Bank will be hoping you will like their free phone offer to distinguish them.
TODAY’S DEPOSIT RATE CHANGES
BNZ today cut many key savings rate to below 2%. Now only their incentive saver is above. At the same time they increased their 6 month rate to 3.50% from 3.40%.
‘SUNNY SIDE UP’
Those waiting for the economy to soften may have to wait a little longer. Today’s business confidence readings from the ANZ survey show improving sentiment across the board. Not only do the businesses surveyed think the NZ economy is getting better (and remember this group saw the reverse in August, and obviously in error), but they are much more upbeat about their own prospects. Confidence has bounced back to almost the same levels we had in the first half of 2015. The service sector is the most optimistic, and agriculture the least, although the latter still showed improvement over the month. ANZ recons this foretells a 3% growth rate over the coming year.
HOUSING DEBT GROWS FASTEST IN 7 YEARS
While debt growth slowed or was unchanged in most sectors in October, it was noticeably high in the housing sector. Housing debt rose +7.2% year-on-year, the fastest expansion since August 2008 when it was in a slowing phase. Interestingly, consumer debt growth is slowing, and expanded at its slowest rate in 22 months, according to the RBNZ data.
UP TOO SLOWLY
Dwelling consents in Auckland grew just two thirds of what is required to keep pace with migration-fueled population growth. Consents are rising in the Queen City, just at too-slow a pace. They are rising elsewhere too, and remarkably quickly in Northland, Waikato, and the Bay of Plenty. On the other hand, consent levels in Canterbury are now tailing off. Nationally, the growth in consents for townhouses merits special mention. Over all dwelling types, one analysts sees a +20% rise from here over the next year.
BACK TO NORMAL
Building consents for everything other than housing have been strong in recent months. But in October they settled down to more regular levels. But these levels were aided by some large projects. There were three consents valued at $25m or over last month. The largest was a $35 mln consent for refurbishment of the University of Otago’s science building. There was also a $33 mln consent in Manukau as part of a new commercial building, and a $25 mln consent as part of a new office building in Christchurch.
DOES PUBLIC INVESTMENT DELIVER ?
The quality of central Government’s investment program is under the spotlight today. For the first time ever it has reviewed $6.4 bln of Government spending on 409 projects – such as ICT, new schools, Defense projects and construction – with a net worth of $74 bln. Also being released is the Major Projects Performance Report March-June, which provides a comprehensive update on 38 of the most complex of those 409 investment projects, and advises on the extent to which they are delivering on expectations. The Christchurch Central Delivery Program has been classed as ‘Red’ and under-performing, and as a consequence is the subject of its own remedial program.
FMA AUDITS THE AUDITORS – BARELY PASSING
The FMA’s Audit Quality Annual Review for the year to 30 June 2015, released today, shows that of the sample files selected almost 18% of audits performed by registered audit firms during the period were completed to a good standard and complied with the Auditing Standards. This is up from 5% of firms last year. Nearly 37% of the audit files reviewed met the minimum requirements of the Auditing Standards, compared with 27% in 2013. Forty five percent of files review failed to meet the minimum requirements of the standards; however these files were selected according to a risk assessment and contained particularly complex auditing and accounting matters. Therefore this result is not representative of all the 1,700 audits completed in the reporting year.
HEARTLAND REAFFIRMS ANNUAL PROFIT FORECAST
Heartland Bank has posted a 4.7% rise in unaudited September quarter profit to $10.3 mln. Gross finance receivables increased $77.7 mln, or 3.3%, in the quarter, and deposits grew $26.7 mln, or 1.3%. Parent Heartland NZ reaffirmed its forecast for June 2016 year net profit after tax of between $51 and $55 mln.
GOVT SHELVES KIWISAVER AUTO-ENROLMENT
The Government has ditched plans to introduce automatic enrollment in KiwiSaver for all workers, Finance Minister Bill English has told Radio NZ. English said the Government’s surplus wasn’t big enough to afford the move, but when there’s more fiscal room the Government may take another look at the idea.
WHOLESALE RATES SETTLE
Local wholesale swap rates slid by just -1 bp today. But the 90 day bank bill rate is unchanged at 2.84%.
NZ DOLLAR HOLDS
Our currency has also slid, fractionally, mainly reacting to the rise of the USD. But trading is light given it is still the weekend in the northern hemisphere. The Kiwi is now at 65.2 USc, at 90.9 AUc, and 61.6 euro cents. The TWI-5 is at 71.1. 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.