Last week I wrote about the weakness in world sharemarkets in terms of specific factors. These included losses for energy sector businesses because of the structural decline in oil prices, slowing growth in China and worries about debt and capital outflows, weakness in the Japanese economy, and worries about the impact of tightening US monetary policy. But there are wider issues in play which also lie behind the growing disquiet.
Sharemarkets have fallen again this past week as investors find themselves with plenty of reasons for backing away from riskier assets. For some it is the fall in oil prices and resulting poor profit outlooks for businesses involved in the energy sector, expectations that sovereign funds of oil exporting countries will sell assets to offset revenue losses, and losses to be taken by banks which have lent to energy companies.
Two weeks ago I listed reasons why despite the dairying downturn growth in the NZ economy would remain good especially compared with other countries and this would limit scope for lower interest rates, support jobs growth, and keep the NZD from falling much.
The Reserve Bank left the cash rate at 2.5% this morning which surprised no-one. But they did open the door a bit more to cutting further, so although our view remains that they won’t move again, one cannot rule out a 0.25% reduction in March. A lot depends on what happens overseas as domestically our economy has a lot of strength.
Welcome to the first Weekly Overview for 2016. The year has started fairly dismally for sharemarket investors and businesses exposed to minerals commodity prices. There has been record early-year weakness in some share indexes, and oil prices are almost in freefall as supply booms, dragging down other energy-related prices by association.
This is the second to last Weekly Overview for the year. In it I take a look at the decision by the Reserve Bank to cut the cash rate another 0.25% but essentially rule out any further cuts. This makes sense as although inflation is low at 0.4% and not set to rise much, the ability of lower interest rates to boost inflation is limited these days and lower rates simply imply even faster growth in home lending and house prices.
In this week’s Overview I take a look at the implications for someone approaching or even in retirement of sustained low returns on conservative assets like term deposits, rising life expectancy, the coming slowing in labour force growth once the current migration boom eventually eases off, and the social connectivity which continued employment can bring.
A couple of very large numbers made their appearance this week. One came from the International Visitor Survey which showed a massive 38% rise in spending by visitors to New Zealand over the past year. The tourism sector is in very good health and this is one of the important offsets to weakness in the dairying sector which will keep overall economic growth up and discourage the Reserve Bank from contemplating rate cuts beyond probably one more 0.25% reduction.