The full pdf version of the Weekly Overview is contained here.
Weekly Overview – Feb. 5
Wednesday February 5th 2014
Interest rates are headed up this week and borrowers should be careful in their assumptions about the peak in rates and how long rates stay high. What I have picked up from two days visiting Christchurch this week (on top of not a single soul believing the CBD will get anywhere for many years) is widespread expectations that the residential rebuild period will take a lot lot longer than commonly thought. The RB last week said they assume a peak of 2016 – 17. One person in Christchurch suggested 5 – 8 years as the reconstruction duration given the delays because of huge compliance issues, staff shortages, and product delays.
The Reserve Bank met expectations this morning by leaving the cash rate at 2.5%, but basically said they will be raising it soon. We expect 3.75% by the end of this year and near 4.5% next with upside risk. Were I borrowing currently I would fix three years at 6.39% given that by mid-year the floating rate will probably be higher than that.
This year is going to be all about interest rates rising in New Zealand as growth surges perhaps toward 4%, the unemployment rate plummets as companies scramble for already scarce employees, whilst offshore massive uncertainty about monetary policies continues. The election late this year will generate a lot of analysis but the actual impact on the economy and financial asset prices will be minimal if measurable at all.
Many key indicators of the NZ economy are turning firmly upward. But we have seen all of them do this before since 2009 yet upturns have faltered. We examine why this time things are different and growth is likely to be sustained for three or so years. Page 1-3
Our BNZ-REINZ Residential Market Survey shows a net 78% of real estate agents are seeing fewer first home buyers. Yet a net 6% continue to see more investors. No wonder then that a net 23% still feel that house prices are rising. Page 1
Job numbers surged 1.2% last quarter giving 2.4% growth from a year ago. Employers should pay attention to the way labour availability will soon dry up bringing staffing issues and requiring a wages response. Page 1
Ten years ago non-primary manufactured goods made up 37% of our goods exports. That proportion is now just 24%. Our export and therefore economic dependence upon the primary sector is soaring. This is very unlikely to change given the strong demand offshore for our primary products, global challenges which face all manufacturers no matter where they are, and the high probability of a continued high NZD which we show is correlated with manufacturing export weakness. Page 1 – 2