Tony Alexander

Economic Commentaries

I’ve been writing a weekly column for NZ regional newspapers since 1998. Columns produced since the start of 2011 are included on this page.

Why we write about the economic consequences of disasters.

Monday March 14th 2011

The Consequences of Earthquakes It never rains but it pours and unfortunately this applies to the terrible devastation and loss of life wrought by earthquakes here in New Zealand and in Japan in recent weeks. Picking through what will likely be the economic consequences of such events is a fraught exercise partly because it seems […]

Migrants Not The Cause of Big House Price Changes

Monday March 14th 2011

The claim was made recently that migrants are the cause of high house prices. We examine the data and conclude that if there is a migration influence on prices then it is Kiwis moving in and out who drive the changes and not arriving foreigners who ultimately make up only 25% of all gross inflows […]

What we lack – 1

Sunday March 13th 2011

In this paper we start by discussing New Zealand’s fall down the OECD income per capita ladder, our high net negative foreign direct investment position, our high net international investment deficit, the high dependence of the NZ banking system upon foreign funding, and our poor household savings rate. We then undertake our first examination of […]

Business confidence understandably slammed by the February 22 earthquake in Christchurch.

Tuesday March 8th 2011

Last week we conducted our monthly survey of the confidence of BNZ Weekly Overview readers regarding the NZ economy and unsurprisingly sentiment has taken quite a tumble following the Christchurch earthquake. Whereas in the first week of February a net 22% of respondents expected the economy to et better in a year’s time our March […]

Implications of the Christchurch earthquake.

Tuesday March 1st 2011

The short term outlook for the NZ economy was already looking mediocre before the earthquake struck last week. Now prospects are even dimmer and it is likely that after registering close to no growth in the December quarter the economy will shrink or again register no growth over the entire first half of this year.

NZ Rankings

Tuesday March 1st 2011

This first file takes a look at a long list of international studies which compare various ranges of countries on largely economic criteria. It is simply the starting point for our analysis.

Why our economy lags behind the OECD average now.

Tuesday February 22nd 2011

Over the past few weeks I’ve been looking through the many international surveys comparing economies. These surveys tend to get highlighted here in New Zealand when we achieve a top 10 ranking, but otherwise don’t get much attention outside the policymaking community. What I’ve been looking for are general indicators which may explain why we […]

Impact of migration flows on NZ house price inflation.

Tuesday February 15th 2011

The Savings Working Group two weeks ago released their report on New Zealand’s savings problem warning that we stand on the edge of an abyss. That terminology is somewhat sensationalist and hopefully hasn’t panicked anyone into leaving the country in case we go the same way as Greece and Ireland. Actually we already did that […]

Retailing is weak, household savings are growing – long may this situation continue.

Monday February 7th 2011

There is considerable uncertainty surrounding the household savings rate in New Zealand and doubts even about the comparability of savings measures across different countries. But for what it is worth, the Institutional Sector Accounts prepared annually by Statistics NZ show that in the year to March 2010 New Zealand’s household savings rate (as a proportion […]

An update on what is happening in foreign economies.

Tuesday January 25th 2011

A lot of what happens in the New Zealand economy is determined by what we do here. And a lot is determined by what happens in the other 99.83% of the planet’s economy so lets have a look at some of the major themes offshore.

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