Talk Money with Tony Field - July 13, 2015

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (Reuters)
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (Reuters)

New Zealand's currency markets and sharemarket are the first to start trading this morning, as talks to keep Greece within the Eurozone go down to the wire.

Greece needs to borrow around NZ$122 billion over the next three years, on top of around $387 billion it has already borrowed.

In exchange, there would have to be big pension cuts and tax increases. To help sell that to the Greek people the European leaders are looking at extending the repayment times and lowering the interest rates Greece would pay.

Greece will need to get any deal through its parliament by Thursday New Zealand time.

The New Zealand dollar was trading at 67.25 US cents at 7am.

It was 90.25 Australian cents, 43.35 pence and 60.31 Euro cents.

Despite the uncertainty in Greece and the volatile Chinese share market the dollar remained almost unchanged last week.

The Kiwi is down 13 percent for the year against the US dollar, 5 percent lower against the Australian, down 13.45 percent against the Pound and has fallen 6.5 percent against the Euro.

The Chinese sharemarket

The Chinese authorities took unprecedented steps last week to bring an end to the losses on their sharemarket.

For now, it seems to be working.

The Shanghai Composite regained 10.6 percent over Thursday and Friday, after falling 32 percent in three and a half weeks.

The authorities banned senior management and anyone who owns 5 percent or more of a listed company from selling their shares for six months.

The Chinese Banking Regulatory Commission also eased margin requirements in an effort to help investors who had bought stocks with borrowed money.

The Chinese market is still 24.9 percent below its high. Although that high point came after a 150 percent rise in value in the 12 months to mid-June.

It is up 87.6 percent compared to a year ago.

So you might think investors are still doing pretty well, but it depends on when they got into the market.

Whenever a bubble occurs there tends to be a rush of investors who get in near the top. The Chinese market is not likely to be any different.

It also seems that a lot of investors borrowed money to get into the market. China Daily reports that some people used their house or property as collateral.

The concern will be that this could impact consumer spending which in turn might impact the wider Chinese economy.

The Chinese economy was already slowing and looks certain to fall short of the Government's target of 7 percent growth.

Labour leader Andrew Little says that if his party becomes the Government it will pass legislation banning non-resident foreigners from buying existing homes in New Zealand.

The party released figures on Saturday showing 40 percent of homes sold at auction by one real estate firm in Auckland over a three-month period went to people with Asian surnames - who make up just nine percent of the city's population.

What the figures do not reveal is whether the buyers were born in New Zealand or overseas.

The data has been criticised by many as "racist and shonky."

But Andrew Little told RadioLIVE that "I have to say I make no apology for our priority being for those who live here and want to get into their first home and who want to get into an affordable home."

He then appeared on TV3's Paul Henry programme and said that if Labour is elected to government a priority policy would be the banning of non-resident foreigners from buying existing houses in New Zealand.

He said the policy would be implemented within 100 days.

"A big chunk of the problem is the non-resident foreign buyer who comes into the market, they're on the end of a phone wherever they are in the world are they're jacking up the prices and making it less affordable.

"If you're a non-resident living overseas in some other part of the world wherever that is and you want a house in New Zealand that you either want to rent or you want to holiday in, then build a new one, but don't compete with locals for the existing houses that everybody's trying to get in to because that's where the more affordable housing tends to be."

Here is Andrew Little's interview with Paul Henry.

This week is shaping up as a huge one for the book industry.

Tomorrow brings the worldwide release of Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman. The book is the number one selling title on Amazon, based on pre-orders.

Publisher HarperCollins has pre-ordered 2 million copies in the United States. Pre-orders of the hardcover edition are outselling the digital version by two to one.

In the UK Go Set a Watchman is looking like it will be Waterstone's biggest ever pre-ordered book, ahead of Harry Potter and EJ James' Grey.

The book was written by Lee five years before To Kill A Mockingbird. When she submitted it for publication she was asked to do a rewrite. Instead of reshaping Watchman Lee instead wrote a new story, which was published as To Kill A Mockingbird.

Could it be that the much hyped Apple Watch has flopped?

Apple has not released official sales figures, but third-party analysts Slice Intelligence report that Apple Watch sales are down 90 percent from their launch.

This suggests that word-of-mouth is not boosting sales of the product as Apple would have hoped.

3 News