Uncertainty for NZ as China's markets plummet

Uncertainty for NZ as China's markets plummet

In the last month China's two main sharemarkets have slumped more than 30 percent , wiping $5 trillion off their value.

The despair among investors is growing.

China is our second biggest trading partner after Australia, buying 20 percent of our exports.

"What that's going to do is create uncertainty in our market, and when you have uncertainty you have people that don't make decisions, don't employ, don't invest, and I think that could be the biggest hit for New Zealand," says Michael Barnett of the Infant Formula Exporters' Association.

ANZ chief economist Cameron Bagrie describes New Zealand as having some unruly children to manage - the overheated Auckland property market, the continuing weak dairy payout and now the global market.

"Of those three, it's the global scene that is the real potential downside driver to the New Zealand economy," says Mr Bagrie.

But the Government says exporters needn't panic yet.

"The world is a bit more fragile at the moment and so is China, but we need to be careful we don't overreact," says Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce. "It's a big market and its long-term trends are very good for New Zealand."

Half of all listed companies on China's two main exchanges have halted trading and the Chinese government has been trying desperately to prop up stock prices.

"You name it, the Chinese authorities are throwing the kitchen sink trying to stabilise the market. The worrying signal is that a) it's not working and b) we're starting to see disconcerting signals across commodity markets," says Mr Bagrie.

Those commodities include dairy, meat and timber.

"Exporters into that market, they know that the Chinese have been stimulating the market with consumer spend and now they've got the opposite. Is that going to make a difference? Yes it is, and we should not kid ourselves that it will not," says Mr Barnett.

The Chinese Shanghai Composite index rose 1 percent today - a small boost after a month of freefall.

One exporter of flowers to China told 3 News it's business as usual for the moment, but he is concerned about the ripple effect. He says a low New Zealand dollar is helping boost demand and will hopefully offset any potential fallout. 

3 News