A review of things you need to know before you go home on Tuesday; fresh costs more, Heartland trumps Turners, fewer board members for Fonterra, more for ASB, NPDC sells up in Tasmania, NZD rise runs out of steam

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

TODAY’S MORTGAGE RATE CHANGES
No more rate cut announcements today as the home loan market absorbs the recent flurry. The current low points are HSBC’s Premier one and two year carded rates of 4.25%.

TODAY’S DEPOSIT RATE CHANGES
NZCU Baywide cut some term deposit rates today.

FRESH FOOD COSTS MORE
Food prices fell in September from August but were +0.7% higher over the past year, in data out today. This follows an increase of +0.4% in the year to August. Fruit and vegetable prices increased +5.3%, with higher prices for avocados, lettuce, potatoes, and bananas. Overall, fruit prices increased +7.8% while vegetable prices increased +3.9%. Much lower rises were recorded for processed foods, with grocery prices actually lower than for the same month in 2014.

HEARTLAND TRUMPS TURNERS WITH MTF OFFER
Heartland Bank has topped a rival offer from Turners Ltd for Motor Trade Finances shares. The bank says it’s offering $1.50 per share for between 10% and 20% of MTF. The offer is subject to satisfactory due diligence. Heartland says it’s still keen to acquire all of MTF’s shares, subject to full due diligence and reaching agreement with MTF’s board. Turners has offered $1.15 per share for up to 20% of MTF. Turners’ offer is due to close on October 17. Heartland also says it wants to offer its insurance, operating lease, plant and equipment, livestock, marine and unsecured personal loans through MTF’s originating shareholders. Here’s Heartland’s full statement.

‘FEWER IS BETTER’
Two Fonterra shareholders and former Fonterra board members are calling on Fonterra shareholders to reduce the number of directors in a move to improve the company’s performance. The two, Greg Gent and Colin Armer, want shareholder support for a reduction of board members from 13 to nine.

THERESE WALSH JOINS ASB BOARD
ASB has named Therese Walsh as a new independent director, lifting the number of directors the bank has on its board to 11. Five are women. A chartered accountant, Walsh has worked for KPMG and been chief financial officer of the New Zealand Rugby Union. She also oversaw the NZ side of this year’s Cricket World Cup. Walsh is also a director of NZX and TVNZ and a trustee of Wellington Stadium. ASB’s board is chaired by Gavin Walker and also features managing director Barbara Chapman.

THE MINERALS-TO-FOOD PIVOT
The New Plymouth District Council has sold its huge dairy farm operation in Tasmania to two billionaire Chinese investors in a $270 mln deal that will require Australian regulator approval. Sale of such land is a sensitive topic for some Aussie politicians although the Tasmanian government is reported to be ‘thrilled’.

NO LONGER RISING
Today’s dairy futures trading held the line, but with a continuing sense of softness. The next dairy auction is on Wednesday morning, October 21, 2015. WMP pricing about US$2,950/tonne seems to be currently indicated, so that represents gain of about +5%, something that could easily slip away in the next week. Or build.

PESSIMISTS WINNING?
The Aussie Reserve Bank has warned that Australians must not let their current uncertainty about the future mutate into “chronic pessimism” if they want to stop their living standards deteriorating. It has warned if pessimism became ingrained in Australia’s culture then “many of the opportunities that we do have are likely to go begging.”

THE NEXT GREAT LEAP
China is preparing a high-wire reform act, trying to transition quickly into a market and consumer-based economy. There are likely to be many rough edges along the way. We will need to see their speed bumps in that context. Their next 5-year Plan is a daring experiment in regulatory speed, one Roger Douglas would have been proud of. 

WHOLESALE RATES
The 90-day bank bill rate is down -1 bp at 2.84% today, as are all swap rates, across the curve. There have been very limited rate signals from overseas today as markets are partially closed on Wall Street for their Columbus Day holiday.

NZ DOLLAR RISING
The Kiwi dollar rose strongly today pushing well up over 67 for a time but is now back at 66.8 USc after an afternoon sell-off, it is holding against the Aussie at 91.1 AUc and has slipped marginally at 58.8 euro cents. The TWI-5 is at 70.8 however. 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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