Talk Money with Tony Field – October 29, 2015


The Reserve Bank has kept the official cash rate (OCR) at 2.75 percent this morning. But the bank has signalled that a further reduction in the OCR "seems likely".

It will depend on future economic data (including the New Zealand dollar, dairy prices, the housing market and business confidence).

Inflation is very weak and the bank would like to see it return to the mid-point of its 1-3 percent target range.

Most economists expect at least one more cut of 0.25 percent, possibly at the December review of the OCR. But there is the potential for more cuts next year if inflation proves to be weaker than expected.

The dollar gained ground against the US currency in the minutes after the announcement.

The Kiwi was trading at 66.94 US cents at 9:15am, compared to 66.48 cents at 8:30am.

It was 93.92 Australian cents, compared to 93.88 at 8:30am.

The NZ dollar rose to 43.67 pence, from 43.59.

It was trading at 81.08 Yen, compared to 80.59.

The Kiwi was 61.03 Euro cents, compared to 60.98 at 8:30am.

The big move for the New Zealand dollar had occurred earlier in the morning, after the US Federal Reserve signalled it might hike interest rates in December for the first time since the Global Financial Crisis.

The US dollar rallied and currencies like the New Zealand dollar fell.

The Kiwi was trading at 67.20 cents before the Fed announcement and dropped to 66.50 cents.

New Zealand's technology sector has enjoyed record growth in the past year.

The Technology Investment Network (TIN) says local firms generated almost $9 billion in revenue. That was an increase of $609 million, or 7.3 percent, from a year ago.

Export revenue rose by 7.5 percent to $6.5 billion.

The network has released its annual report surveying New Zealand's 100 largest high tech businesses (TIN100) and its 100 fastest-growing high tech companies (TIN 100+).

The companies include firms working in information and communication technology (ICT), high-tech manufacturing and biotechnology.

In the 2014-15 year TIN100 companies increased their combined revenue by 7.5 percent to $8.2 billion. Their export revenues increased by 7.5 percent to $6.05 billion.

The next 100 companies (TIN100+) ranked by revenue grew by 5.6 percent to $754 million, with exports of $492 million (an increase of 8.2 percent).

How do the exports of $6.5 billion compare with other sectors?

Dairy generated export revenue of $14.2 billion and tourism generated $11.8 billion.

"It's an exciting time for TIN100 companies," says TIN managing director Greg Shanahan. "Whilst technology exports aren't about to knock dairy exports off its perch just yet; watch this space."

The technology sector employs 37,000 people, with more than 2400 of the jobs created in the last year – an increase of 6.9 percent.

The bulk of the jobs, 1408, were created in Auckland. 600 jobs were created in Wellington and 298 in the South Island.

High-tech manufacturing generated $5.5 billion. That was an increase of 4.6 percent from a year ago.

ICT generated $2.4 billion, up 13.1 percent.

Biotech had revenue of $350.5 million, an increase of 8 percent.

Financial services technology was the fastest growing sector. The 11 companies across the TIN100 and TIN100+ groups grew revenues by $12 million, an increase of 58 percent.

"These companies demonstrate the rapid scalability and growth possible with Software as a Service (SaaS) /Cloud Based solutions," the report reads.

There is growing optimism among exporters, according to the annual DHL Export Barometer survey.

Sixty-five percent of the firms surveyed are confident their orders will increase in the next year. That is an increase from 2013 when confidence was at 59 percent.

The manufacturing sector is the most confident. Fifty-eight percent of exporters say export orders have increased in the last 12 months, and 68 percent are expecting them to increase in the next 12 months.

This is followed by the agricultural sector, with 57 percent of exporters saying orders have increased in the year to August 2015, and 71 percent expect them to increase in the next year.

In the services sector, 43 percent of exporters say orders increased in the last 12 months and 55 percent expect orders to increase in the next 12 months.

Exporters say the fluctuating New Zealand dollar is a challenge, but many hope to overcome that by entering new markets and developing new products.

Newer exporters are the most confident, with 85 percent of firms exporting for one to five years saying they expect an increase in orders in the next year.

That contrasts with businesses that have been operating for 21 years or more. Only 61 percent of them anticipate an increase in orders.

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