A review of things you need to know before you go home on Friday; many rate changes, factories glum, KiwiSaver matures, NZD trading volumes jump, swaps steepen, NZD rises

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Here are the key things you need to know before you leave work today.

MORTGAGE RATE CHANGES
Three big banks all lowered fixed home loan rates. Details here covering ASB, BNZ and Westpac.

TERM DEPOSIT RATE CHANGES
BNZ has lowered term deposit rates for terms of 18 months and longer. They no longer offer any rate of 4%.

FACTORIES GLUM
New Zealand factories are in the slow lane at present, with overall activity barely expanding.The evidence is clear in the August PMIs which didn’t really bounce back after a weak July. The most telling sign is in the employment sub-index which is at a two year low and has been contracting in two of the past three months. The poor business confidence signals earlier in the year are being proved accurate.

LEVELING OFF
Growth in KiwiSaver membership is tailing off quickly now. Membership has grown to 2.889 mln, a gain of about +8,000 in the month of August. But that is growth of under +4% now, the first time it has descended this low. Marketing by KiwiSaver funds will now be more aof a zero-sum game.

MORE PER MEMBER
Southern Cross Health Society reported a 7% rise in premium income in the year to June 2018 taking it up to $1,138.55 per year per member and up from $1,082.07 the previous year, a +5.2% boost. Membership rose +1.7%. On average, they paid out $1,044.96 per member in the June 2018 year.

MAJORITY SUPPORT
From its huge General Social Survey (GSS) 2016, Stats NZ reports more than half (53%) of New Zealanders say te reo Māori should be a core subject in primary schools. The strongest support is by surveyed people under 45 years.

BACK IN FAVOUR
After being stable at unspectacular levels for years, the August data for the volume of NZD FX turnover jumped to a three year high, at an impressive $218 bln. Surprisingly, spot transactions were at a four year high, although swaps also saw a good rise. Trading forward showed little change.

PEAKING
China reckons its retail sales growth has held up at +9.0% pa in August and that industrial production rose +6.1% pa. People in China tell us that many people are “fearful” of how the US:China trade dispute will play out, no doubt why Beijing is strictly controlling the public narrative on the issue. Given the obvious apprehension, it seems unlikely that retail spending growth will rise from here. Overnight, eyes will turn to US retail sales and markets expect them to show slightly weaker growth as well.

SWAP RATES STEEPER
Swap rates steepened a little today with the short end down -1 bp and the long end up +1 bp. The UST 10yr is also unchanged at 2.97%. The UST 2-10 curve still just above +21 bps. The Aussie Govt 10yr is at 2.61% (up +3 bps), the China Govt 10yr is at 3.68% (down -2 bps), while the NZ Govt 10 yr is at 2.58%, and down -4 bps. The 90 day bank bill rate slipped another -1 bp and is now at 1.88%.

BITCOIN RISING
The bitcoin price rising further and now at US$6,572 and up +2.8% from this time yesterday.

NZD FIRMS FURTHER
The NZD is now up at 65.9 USc. On the cross rates we are firmer at 91.6 AUc, and little changed at 56.3 euro cents. That puts the TWI-5 at 69.5 and well off its recent lows.

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Daily exchange rates

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NZD

End of day UTC
Source: CoinDesk

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