A review of things you need to know before you go home on Wednesday; loud signals from Wheeler, strong property market signals, less sheep more cattle, farm price signals, swap rates rise

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

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

TODAY’S DEPOSIT RATE CHANGES
No changes here either. Actually there was a change today, from Heartland Bank, who have reduced most rates for terms from 6 months to 5 years. They 1 year ‘special’ however remains at 4.6%.

TRYING TO MOVE THE NEEDLE
The big news today has been the Reserve Bank’s Financial Stability review and its focus on Auckland residential property investors, along with their concerns about the impact of low dairy prices. Now we hear that at their Parliamentary Select Committee testimony they have called for a register of foreign buyers. Lots to absorb here.

HIGH HOME LOAN LENDING VALUES
Last week was a full week for mortgage approvals. The data shows a new record average loan amount of $221,000 driven off of modest volumes and high values being loaned.

GIVE ME MORE’
Average asking prices on Trade Me Property set new records in Auckland, Wellington and Canterbury last month.

MORE CATTLE, LESS SHEEP
Data out today showed how livestock farming has changed. New Zealand had 29.8 million sheep at 30 June 2014, down -3% in a year and the lowest number since 1943 (not a typo). The number of dairy cattle increased +3%, while the total number of beef cattle declined slightly. The total number of dairy cattle was just under 6.7 million, with increases of 67,000 dairy cattle in the North Island and 148,000 in the South Island.

THE SIGNS ARE THERE
Today’s RBNZ FSR noted (page 29) that the last time farm prices fell, that was preceded by a fall in the volumes of farms selling. We monitor the number of farms for sale and this week we are showing that there are now 469 less in a year, that is -17% lower.

AN EL NINO EFFECT?
Dry conditions are lingering longer this year in the east of North Canterbury and parts of Marlborough (see map below). Officials are getting worried in these [relatively small] areas.

LOWER FOOD PRICES
In the year to April 2015, food prices increased +1.0%, down from a +1.9% increase in the year to March 2015. Fruit and vegetable prices increased 5.3% while restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food prices increased +1.6%. Grocery food prices decreased -1.5% in he year to April, influenced by lower prices for bread, cheese, snack foods, and butter. These trends broadly confirm our own weekly grocery price monitoring. This is where a low inflation policy pays off in everyday living.

WHOLESALE RATES STEEPEN
Wholesale swap rates were unchanged today for one and two year terms. For 3 years they are +1 bps higher, and for terms longer than that they are +3 bps higher. The 90 day bank bill rate however fell -2 bps to 3.54%.

NZ DOLLAR STAYS LOWER
The New Zealand dollar has stayed broadly where it was yesterday. As of late this afternoon it is at 74 USc, 92.6 AUc, 65.9 euro cents, and the TWI-5 is now at 76.8. 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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