Talk Money with Tony Field – September 10, 2015

The Reserve Bank said that "some further easing in the OCR seems likely" (file)
The Reserve Bank said that "some further easing in the OCR seems likely" (file)

The Reserve Bank's decision to cut the official cash rate by 0.25 percent to 2.75 percent was widely expected. What the economists, currency traders and many home owners wanted to see was a hint of what the Reserve Bank might be thinking about possible future interest rate movements.

It said that "some further easing in the OCR seems likely". But it will depend on future economic data.

Within two minutes of the 9am announcement, Kiwibank said it would be lowering its variable and floating mortgage interest rates. That will bring its floating rates down from 6.15 percent to 5.90 percent. The reduction is immediate for new customers, but existing customers will have to wait two weeks.

ANZ this morning cut its floating mortgage rates by 0.25 percent to 5.99 percent and its flexible home loan rates by 0.25 percent to 6.1 percent.

ANZ says the new floating rates take effect for new customers from September 14, and for existing customers and for all flexible loan customers from the 28th.

Both ASB and BNZ had moved ahead of the announcement.

Last Friday BNZ said that it would cut its special one-year mortgage rate to 4.35 percent. ASB matched that. New Zealand has not mortgage rates this low since the 1960s.

Some people are concerned that lower rates will fuel Auckland's property market.

But the Reserve Bank believes the 0.25 percent reduction is warranted because the economy is softening. It is forecasting growth to slow to 2.1 percent by March 2016.

It also wants to see the inflation rate rise from around 1 percent right now to 2 percent. A level of 2 percent would be in the middle of the Bank's target range for inflation.

Economists at the ASB say they expect the Reserve Bank will make one more cut to the OCR before the end of the year, taking the OCR to 2.5 percent. They point out that the RBNZ's 90-day Bank Bill Outlook has dips to a low next year of 2.6 percent, which implies that it expects to cut the OCR one more time. ASB economists also think the Reserve Bank could likely make at least one more cut next year.

Westpac economists say they remain comfortable predicting a low point for the OCR of 2 percent.

The Reserve Bank also models what it calls "downside risks" to its forecasts. It has looked at an alternative scenario in which global growth slows sharply. In that situation the Reserve Bank sees the New Zealand's economic growth falling further and the OCR dropping to 2 percent.

Graeme Wheeler said the OCR could be cut "substantially" if global growth weakens further or if El Nino weather conditions produce a drought in New Zealand.

The New Zealand dollar fell one cent against the US currency following the announcement.

It was trading at 62.93 cents at 9.45am, compared to 63.94 beforehand.

The kiwi rose to 90.06 Australian cents, from 91.08. The dollar fell 1.66 percent against the British pound, trading at 40.95 pence.

It was trading 1.7 percent lower against the euro and the yen, at 56.13 euro cents (from 57.10 ) and 75.79 yen (down from 77.10).

There was huge interest in today's Apple product launch. It was not just Apple customers who were watching. So was Wall Street.

Apple unveiled new iPhones, a revamped Apple TV device, a much larger iPad and even an Apple Pencil.

But its share price fell 1.92 percent.

Apple is worth US$639 billion (NZ$998 billion) ,which makes it the most valuable company listed on any of the world's share markets. It is worth 3.6 percent of the total value of the US S&P500.

But the share price has been volatile lately. Investors are concerned that the pace of growth is slowing for Apple.

The new iPhone 6S and 6S Plus will be much faster and more powerful. They will feature 3D touch allowing people to trigger multiple functions. For example if you highlight a word, a long press will allow you to look up the dictionary definition.

The Apple TV device has been opened up to thirdparty app developers. Apple chief executive Tim Cook declared at the launch that "the future of TV is apps".

The iPad Pro will feature a 12.9 inch diagonal screen. That is 3.5 inches (8.9cm) larger than the existing iPad. There will also be a pencil that allows people to write or draw on the screen.

Historically the Apple share price often rises before a product launch and then loses some ground.

Netflix soared 4.45 percent.

Like Apple, its share price has been volatile lately. But investors were cheered by news the internet TV company plans to enter four more Asian markets next year.

It is sometimes said that where Apple goes so too does Wall Street.

That might explain at least part of why stock prices dropped in the US this morning despite initially opening higher.

The S&P500 fell 1.4 percent, after making a gain of nearly 1 percent earlier in the day.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 1.45 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq slipped 1.15 percent.

Investors are unsure whether the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates later this month from near-zero levels.

A fall of 4 percent in crude oil prices did not help sentiment.

West Texas crude had fallen US$3.90 to $44.11. Investors fear increased supply will dampen prices.

European Brent was down 4.28 percent to $47.10.

The main European indexes had earlier finished higher. London's FTSE gained 1.35 percent, France's CAC 40 rose 1.44 percent and Germany's DAX was up by a smaller margin of 0.31 percent.

Japan's Nikkei soared 7.7 percent - its biggest one-day gain since 2008.

China's Shanghai Composite rose 2.32 percent. Investors in China were cheered by the news that there appeared to be a fresh wave of state-backed buying of stocks.

3 News