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Mid February, we saw Retail Sales (0.0% m/m) stall as demand in department stores and appliance outlets declined, with high unemployment and a slowing housing market undermining consumer confidence. Market expectations for an early start to the monetary tightening cycle have been steadily wound back in recent weeks as data paints a picture of an economy struggling to gain traction after the recession. Analysts are now more in line with RBNZ Governor Bollard’s official position that rates will be on hold until June 2010. Business NZ Manufacturing Index (52.0 from 52.9) gave further evidence of a sluggish recovery but was able to consolidate above the expansionary 50 level and is a vast improvement on the 42.1 seen in January 2009.

In the meantime, Producer input prices (+0.3% q/q) rose slightly in the December quarter as wholesale inflation was pushed up by rising milk and electricity costs; however year-on-year prices have fallen by 3.3%. Output prices fell by 3.8% from a year earlier with meat and meat product prices leading the decline as export demand has dipped. Overall the report showed little inflationary pressure to concern the RBNZ and no reason for interest rate hikes before June. Markets have had to adjust interest expectations quite dramatically as a series of weak economic releases, including the jobless rate hitting a 10-year high, have put chances of the first rate hike back from March to the long stated RBNZ preferred month of June. Building Consents and Business confidence will be watched but international news is likely to be the main driver for markets again this week.

Current Central Bank Rates:

NZ (Reserve Bank): 2.50%
UK (Bank of England): 0.50%

GBP/NZD Highs & Lows of February:

High: 2.2999
Low: 2.1704

A movement of: 5.97%

Difference this would make on £200k

High: NZD 459,980
Low: NZD 434,080

A difference of NZD 25,900

All of the information above can be explained clearly by your personalised dealer should you open a trading facility with HIFX. To discuss your requirements in more detail and for a free currency consultation please contact HiFX plc on 01753 859 159 or email [email protected].

Regards

Mark Bodega
Director - HiFX
 
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