A review of things you need to know before you go home on Wednesday; mortgage approvals lift, tourism lifts, more flights coming, dairy prices soften, Aussies more confident, swap rates fall

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

TODAY’S MORTGAGE RATE CHANGES
There were no rate changes announced today.

TODAY’S DEPOSIT RATE CHANGES
Nothing here either.

NOT SAGGING YET
For anyone thinking that the real estate market is flagging, they should look at last week’s new home loan approvals data. At 6,686 approvals, that is the second highest weekly level since May 2015.

SEASON EXTENDERS
Strong tourism numbers, especially in the South Island, helped power the accommodation industry to a strong September. Guest nights were up +5.2% from the same month a year ago and the occupancy rate was 36%. These are the highest levels for a September since records began.

BIG SPENDERS
Not only are many more visitors coming from China, they are arriving in higher numbers from North American as well. And that will only grow. Today, the Government approved a Qantas-American Airlines linkup to bring American Airlines flights direct to Auckland. It’s a new daily service from Los Angeles.

TAX TWEAKS
A pilot program to file your GST return within your Xero or MYOB accounting package is about to start. Another paperwork duplication is about to end. (But it may open – at some stage in the future – a back door for the IRD to look back in.) Labour is also claiming that PAYE deduction rates are about to be tweaked higher even though the tax rates themselves aren’t shifting. The effect is claimed to be that there will be far fewer short-payers, but many more over-payers, which you can only get back by filing a return.

RECENT GAINS EVAPORATING
It’s always worth keeping an eye on the dairy derivatives market for WMP. There is growing softness in recent pricing, suggesting at least a -7% fall in dairy prices are possible at the next auction which is due on Wednesday next week. That will be a depressing prospect for farmers, bankers and policymakers alike if it turns out that way. Fonterra today announced that it has doubled the production of lactoferrin at its Hautapu plant – from 8 tonnes to 16 tonnes per year. It is high value. Each kilo requires 10,000 litres of milk for the extraction. Lactoferrin sells between US$500 and $1000 per kg. Fonterra spent $11 million on the upgrade. At US$500/kg, the additional 8 tonnes will generate NZ$6 mln per year minimum. So, even these ‘high value’ products won’t make a material difference to Fonterra’s overall returns.

HEADING UP
It’s not all gloom in Australia. Consumer sentiment has hit close to a two-year high, according to the latest Westpac-Melbourne Institute survey, with many shoppers apparently in the mood to start splashing money about for Christmas. The index rose 3.9 points in November, to 101.7 points. Apart from a brief surge following this year’s federal budget in May, this is its best reading since January 2014.

INFORMATION SHARING
Australia and New Zealand have struck a new agreement which will enable government agencies and businesses to electronically verify official government issued identity documents in either country.

WHOLESALE RATES DOWN
Local wholesale swap rates have given up -3 bps across the curve today. This is pretty much mirroring Wall Street earlier today. The 90 day bank bill rate is unchanged at 2.90%.

NZ DOLLAR RISES
Our currency has slowly strengthened as the day has progressed. It is now at 65.6 USc, at 93 AUc and 61.1 euro cents. The TWI-5 is at 71.5. 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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var mm2 = time4.getMonth();
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for(i=0;i

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