Tony Alexander

Economic Commentaries

This monthly publication is aimed at SME owners.

NZ Observer – June 2015

Monday June 22nd 2015

In this month’s NZ Observer we make a suggestion for how course providers can get more SME owners showing up to improve their skills, discuss the Reserve Bank’s recent easing of monetary policy and note more is likely, examine the weakening NZD and also note more is coming. However our economy still retains good support from areas like construction, migration, and household spending so the extent of the NZD’s decline is likely to be limited. We also make some rough calculations aimed at indicating which regions of the country have a housing shortage – only a couple by the looks of it.

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NZ Observer May 2015

Thursday May 21st 2015

Since the start of the year there have been developments which suggest stronger growth in the economy, employment etc., and developments which suggest the opposite. Courtesy of the still slowing Chinese economy and the deteriorating outlook for dairying, we suggest that the negatives are slightly in ascendancy. That does not mean poor economic performance just ahead, but it does suggest a benign outlook for interest rates and mildly downward track for the NZ dollar. The chances of parity with the Aussie dollar are now quite slim.

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NZ Observer – April 2015

Tuesday April 21st 2015

Continuing on with last month’s analysis focussing on Auckland’s projected high population growth rate, we point out that this growth results substantially from Auckland having the lowest median population age of all regions at 34.8 years. Canterbury is 39.4.
Many people have recently been making the claim that the small business sector is the engine of employment growth in the NZ economy. The data however say otherwise. Between 2010 and 2013 employment in small firms grew by 2.6%, medium sized firms 5.6%, and large firms 4.8%.

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NZ Observer – March 2015

Wednesday March 18th 2015

New Zealand’s economy has performed well compared with many others the past three or four years. But two to three years from now the Christchurch rebuild will be waning, a period of hefty fixed asset investment in the dairy sector will also be ebbing, the migration boom will have turned, and the temporary stimuli from structural adjustments downward in fuel prices and interest rate expectations will have gone. What will drive ur growth then? It won’t be manufacturing which remains on a long-term shrinking path. It won’t be the primary sector unless there is a surprising cut in dairy production overseas (the opposite will instead happen), or farmers switch toward producing a different output.

New Zealand will need to more fully embrace what is becoming the key source of growth for businesses – strong and vibrant innovation processes built around recruitment and retention of “talent”, and strong connectivity with centres of excellence and end product use overseas. This will require more investment in the infrastructure of New Zealand’s prime “agglomeration” of Auckland, high openness to foreign capital and migrant flows, and stronger linkages between the education and business sectors.

In this month’s NZ Observer we run through data which SMEs may find useful as they contemplate where economic growth in New Zealand is likely to come from over the next three decades.

NZ Observer, February 2015

Tuesday February 17th 2015

Welcome to the first issue of the NZ Observer. This new publication is aimed squarely at SMEs contemplating their likely operating environment over the short, medium and long terms. On page 2 we outline the likely environment for the next couple of years noting strong growth support from activity in Christchurch and Auckland plus investment in dairying to a perhaps easing extent. On page 5 we take a special look at retailing noting the correlation between price changes and sales and the way that rising costs for non-retailing items have taken available cash away from the sector.

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