Here’s our summary of key events over the long holiday weekend that affect New Zealand, with a long list of mainly positive items.
Today’s dairy auction has brought lower volumes and a small rise in prices. In USD terms, the weighted average price is up +2.2%. But in NZD terms a rise in the Kiwi dollar has trimmed that back to a rise of just +0.5%. The volumes are -14% lower than the last auction and +13.4% higher than the same early January auction is 2016. Prices for the key WMP product, which represents over half the volume, was up +4.2% from the prior auction. The weakest product was cheddar cheese, which was down -2.1%. There is likely to be little reaction to this auction result, but is does cement in the much lower pricing levels at -11% from September. Today’s rise only makes back about half the drop we had at the previous event.
And something to watch in the US; supermarkets are cutting back on space for organic milk due to cooling demand; those customers are opting for milk alternatives.
In other news, both Asian stocks and Wall Street have started the year on a strong note. For example, the S&P500 is up +0.7%. Tech and consumer equities are leading the way higher.
The latest data out confirms that global manufacturing is in an expansionary phase. This is based on new orders, new export and output all rising more strongly that in recent times. In the US, output is expanding at its quickest pace in eleven months, in China they have also managed a small improvement but input costs are rising sharply although prices charged are keeping pace and increasing at a solid pace. The star of this show is India however, with most indicators expanding sharply to a five year high.
Closer to home, the equivalent Australian report also shows accelerated manufacturing growth of output and a sharper increase in new orders. Their levels are now at a one-year high.
And staying in Australia, house prices are starting to fall there, with the trend led by Sydney where the falls are greatest. They are down -2.1% over the three months to December (although year-on-year they are still up +3%). CoreLogic says retreats like this are just the start of a trend we will see over 2018.
And still in Australia, ANZ has announced a commission cut for mortgage brokers who bring clients with low-deposit and riskier financials. the reduction is not large (-2.5 bps from 65 bps commission) but it is the first time a major Aussie bank has incentivised brokers in this way.
And this is also small beer compared to what the major banks are likely to do with their own staff numbers aa they roll out new technology. More than -10% of their workforce – 20,000 people – are likely to lose their jobs in a steady program of reductions from 160,000 currently employed by them, to 140,000, according to new analysis.
A little north, Singapore has surprised analysts with a stronger-than-expected GDP result for the December quarter of +3.1%. Most analysts were picking a rise of +2.6%. A stronger result in the services sector brought the improvement. That is two consecutive quarters of better growth and Monetary Authority will now likely shift to a neutral policy setting.
We should also note that last year marked the safest year on record for commercial air travel according to aviation experts. There were no commercial passenger jet fatalities in 2017.
The UST 10yr yield has risen strongly to 2.47% today (+6 bps). In China, the equivalent 10yr sovereign bond is yielding 3.92% (unchanged) while the equivalent NZ 10yr sovereign bond is yielding 2.75% (unchanged).
Oil prices are just a little softer in the US today with the WTI benchmark now just over US$60 a barrel, while the Brent benchmark is just under US$66.5. But prices hit mid-2015 highs in early trading, then fell back as traders realised major pipelines in Libya and the UK restarted and American production soared to its highest level in more than 40 years.
Gold is up another +US$9 to US$1,312/oz.
This morning the Kiwi dollar is a little higher at just on 71 USc, and on the cross rates it is at 90.8 AUc, and against the euro it’s almost a cent higher at 59.9 euro cents. That puts the TWI-5 up at 73.5.
Bitcoin is back where we left it at on New Year’s Eve at US$14,608, but it continued it volatile rise, at one point slipping below US$13,000. Most of the gain back has come in the last hour.
The easiest place to stay up with event risk today is by following our Economic Calendar here ».