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.

More land means higher interest rates?

Thursday June 6th 2013

Here is something which might mess with your brain a bit so don’t read it if you like to think the world is a straight-forward place. If the government and councils opened up all types of land for unrestrained residential building it could cause interest rates to rise, not fall. Why? Because one would expect […]

Confidence at Record High

Monday June 3rd 2013

Business optimism in our monthly BNZ Confidence Survey has reached a record net 57% feeling positive compared with 45% in May and 25% in April. The survey has captured reaction to the Budget and Fonterra’s announcement of a $1.20 increase in the milksolids payout along with a five cent fall in the NZ dollar against […]

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NZD up higher vs. AUD

Thursday May 30th 2013

Against the Australian dollar the NZD has risen yet again this week to sit at a four and a half year high. The gain to just under 85 cents from just over 83 cents last week reflects some Kiwi-specific positives and an Aussie-specific negative. The Aussie negative is the deepening degree of concern about slowing […]

Australia and China slowing, US lifting, Europe shrinking

Thursday May 30th 2013

In the United States some more signs of improving life in the housing market have appeared over the past week. One was sales of new homes which in April were ahead 29% from a year earlier with the median sales price up 14.9% from April 2012. That is quite a jump and one of the […]

Migrant flows

Thursday May 30th 2013

For your guide, now that debate about migration soaring and the insular side of Kiwis is starting to be revealed again, here are the numbers showing who the migrants are. Of the gross inflow of 87,217 people in the year to April 28% were Kiwis. After that if we strip these Kiwis out of the […]

Upward pressure on fixed rates

Thursday May 30th 2013

The Reserve Bank will be increasingly thinking about when to raise interest rates in light of the rising housing market or more especially rising construction costs which will boost inflation, and accelerating economic growth assisted by the likes of Fonterra’s news this week. But they will be wary of the effects of the strong NZ […]

Exports down, housing up

Thursday May 30th 2013

The monthly export data were released this week but they haven’t greatly informed our understanding about what is happening in the NZ economy. Export receipts in seasonally adjusted terms fell 8.6% in April to give growth in the past six months of just 0.5%. Receipts have fallen 0.9% in the past year and have basically […]

NZD falls away

Thursday May 23rd 2013

The Kiwi dollar has fallen to a nine month low against the greenback near 80.2 cents in response to a generalised firming of the USD driven by market speculation of a “tapering” of the Federal Reserve’s asset buying programme soon. Last night in formal testimony the Fed. Chairman gave no hint of an end to […]

A summary

Thursday May 23rd 2013

The week started firmly in the United States in the form of the consumer confidence index from the University of Michigan rising to its highest reading since mid-2007 at 83.7 in May from 76.4 in April. The rise suggests that in spite of the sequester affecting public sector employment and incomes people are increasingly hopeful […]

Construction costs rising

Thursday May 23rd 2013

There are a great number of reasons why house prices are high in New Zealand, why they have risen so much recently, and why they will keep rising for perhaps another three years. One of those reasons is that building costs are high courtesy of such things as inefficiencies in the building materials sector, lack […]

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