Talk Money: November 25

Talk Money Tony Field (Paul Henry)
Talk Money Tony Field (Paul Henry)

There are reasons to be cheerful about the economy, despite the fall in dairy prices.

The New Zealand Institute of Economic Research predicts growth will rise back towards 3 percent next year, thanks to a strong performance from sectors like tourism.

The Institute says diversification is happening across products and regions

"Although China remains a very important market for our export sector, the recent conclusion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP) opens up opportunities to other key markets such as the US, Japan and Canada.

Strong population growth will lift the economy and increase the demand for housing.

The report says there has been some volatility in the housing market lately, but prices in areas like Auckland remain well above the levels seen at the beginning of the year.

NZIER says the recent terrorism attacks have caused jitters in the world markets and are a risk to the global economy. It is possible they may discourage tourism activity globally, but NZIER says New Zealand is generally viewed as a safe haven to visit and live in.

BAY OF PLENTY IS THE PLACE TO BE

The Bay of Plenty has claimed the top spot in the latest ASB ranking of the regional economies.

The region has been given a five star ranking - which ASB says means it is "the place to be."

Jobs growth in the region is strong and so is the housing market.

ASB Chief Economist Nick Tuffley says "We're hearing stories about happy, cashed-up Aucklanders moving to the region. Indeed, house sales, house prices and construction were all star performers for the Bay of Plenty over the quarter."

But he says even the best has room to do better.

"We would like to see an improvement in retail sales and confidence to give the region an all-round boost."

Auckland slipped to second-equal in the rankings, with Canterbury. Both regions earned a five star ranking.

ASB says Auckland's labour market is softening, with employment growth at about the same level as the national average. Consumer confidence has also slipped and is at a three year low.

On the other hand, Mr Tuffley says strong migration continues to boost Auckland's population growth, supporting retail and car sales, as well as house prices.

"These factors suggest it is the sheer growth in numbers keeping Auckland churning at the moment."

Although growth in Canterbury is slowing, the return of tourists to the region is a bright spot.

ASB says Cantabrians remain upbeat, with consumer confidence high.

"All things considered, the transition from a rebuild-led economy to business as usual will be tricky for the regional economy. In that sense, it will be difficult for Canterbury to hold on to its five-star rating over 2016."

Nick Tuffley says Northland and Waikato are also basking in Auckland's "halo" effect".

They both earned a four star ranking, which in ASB's survey means "be there or be square."

In Northland, house prices, retail spending, construction, new car sales and guest nights all provided a boost to the region's ranking. But ASB says employment growth is below the national average and needs to keep pace in future quarters.

Waikato's economy remains strong despite the dairy downturn. In particular, housing is strong, with sales doubling over the quarter compared to a year ago, and house prices continuing to increase.

Otago earns a four star ranking as well, with the tourism sector surging ahead. Residential and commercial construction is strong.

Gisborne, Hawke's Bay, Manawatu-Wanganui, Tasman and Southland all received a "fair to middling" three star ranking.

Taranaki has been downgraded on the scoreboard to two stars as the region continues to struggle from downturns in both the dairy and energy sectors.

"With its two main industries under a cloud, it's not surprising to see unemployment rising and spending down. Construction activity is also falling, particularly in the commercial sector.

Wellington, Nelson, Marlborough and West Coast all received two stars, which ASB says means they "need an energy injection."

NERVOUS MARKETS

European markets fell almost two per cent, following the news Turkish fighter jets had shot down a Russian warplane.

Tourism related stocks were sold off.

Accor, which owns the Sofitel and Novotel hotel chains, closed down around five per cent.

Airlines stocks lost value as well. Air France-KLM and Lufthansa finished around four per cent lower.

The prospect of increased global uncertainty sent the gold price up around one per cent. But it then eased slightly and by 8am New Zealand time was trading half a per cent higher at US$1,074 per ounce.

THE DOLLAR

The New Zealand dollar has had a mixed performance overnight.

It was trading at 65.40 US cents at 8.00am, up around a third of one per cent from yesterday.

But the Kiwi had slipped by around the same margin against the Australian dollar, sitting at 90.32 Australian cents.

It was trading at 43.37 British pence, 80.04 Yen and 61.43 Euro cents.

Oil prices rose almost three per cent on concern the tension in the Middle East could disrupt supplies.

West Texas oil was trading at US$42.88 per barrel and European Brent was trading at US$46.06.

ADELE SOARS

The predictions that Adele would smash sales records with her new album "25" have proved correct - and very quickly too.

Nielsen Music says "25" has broken the US record for the most albums sold in the first week of release.

Adele's 25 sold at least 2,433,000 units in slightly more than three days.

Nielsen says that beats the single-week record for an album since it began tracking sales in 1991. The record had been held by *NSYNC's "No Strings Attached", which sold 2,416,000 copies in its first week of release in 2000.

Nielsen Music began tracking point-of-sale music purchases in 1991.

 

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