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NZ economic outlook downgraded

Weaker prices for agricultural exports have led Fitch Ratings to revise New Zealand’s growth outlook down.

Wednesday, January 27th 2016, 11:27AM

by Miriam Bell

The ratings agency has left the country’s sovereign rating unchanged at AA, but it has changed its outlook from positive to stable.

This is because it has revised down its assessment of New Zealand's near-term growth prospects, as the outlook for the prices of its agricultural exports have deteriorated.

It estimates GDP growth slowed to 2.3% in 2015 and expects GDP growth to pick up to 2.4% and 2.6% in 2016 and 2017.

Fitch analyst Mervyn Tang said this was a slower pace than forecast in their July 2015 review.

A slight rebound in business investment is expected, while ongoing high immigration levels should support consumption growth.

But this will be partly offset by lower dairy production and slower residential investment growth, Tang said.

“Stronger construction activity in Auckland will be unable to fully replace a decreasing contribution from the Canterbury rebuild.”

Further, uncertainty over the external environment, migration rates and the impact from El Nino weather conditions represent risks to the forecast.

The Reserve Bank has estimated that dairy losses would be manageable, even in a severe scenario, Tang said.

“However, this scenario does not assume a more broad-based economic slowdown, or any concurrent correction in the housing market.

“A combined stress scenario could have a much greater impact on the health of the banking system.”

While the ratings agency expects the RBNZ’s new LVR measures to slow house price growth, it said ongoing low interest rates and fast population growth could continue to add upward price pressures.

But a significant downturn in house prices could impact badly on New Zealand’s outlook.

Tang said one of the main factors that could lead to a further rating downgrade was a negative shock with a lasting impact on growth, employment, public finances and the banking system.

This could be a steep rise in external borrowing costs, prolonged weakness in the dairy sector, or a sharp reversal in house prices.

The other such factor would be evidence of net external indebtedness becoming unsustainable.

Meanwhile, HSBC has also predicted 2.4% growth for New Zealand in 2016.

The bank’s chief economist Paul Bloxham said that, although this was solid growth, it was below trend.

He also said that, despite strong tourist numbers and rising house construction in Auckland, low dairy prices will remain a challenge.

“Solid growth may not be enough to keep inflation on target, which means the Reserve Bank is likely to cut the OCR further, despite financial stability concerns.”

Fitch’s downgrade comes just before the RBNZ’s first OCR statement of the year tomorrow.

While the RBNZ is widely expected to leave the OCR unchanged tomorrow, speculation about further cuts this year – perhaps as early as March – is growing.

Tags: banks interest rates OCR OCR forecasts Ratings RBNZ

« OCR cuts to come – but not nowWhat the Reserve Bank said to start the year »

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Mortgage Rates Table

Full Rates Table | Compare Rates

Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
ANZ 5.19 3.95 4.15 4.49
ANZ Special - 3.45 3.65 3.99
ASB Bank 5.20 3.89 4.05 4.39
ASB Bank Special - 3.39 3.55 3.89
Bluestone 4.44 4.44 4.29 4.34
BNZ - Classic - 3.49 3.55 3.89
BNZ - Mortgage One 5.90 - - -
BNZ - Rapid Repay 5.35 - - -
BNZ - Std, FlyBuys 5.30 4.45 4.35 4.55
BNZ - TotalMoney 5.30 - - -
China Construction Bank 5.50 4.70 4.80 4.95
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
China Construction Bank Special - 3.19 3.19 3.19
Credit Union Auckland 5.95 - - -
Credit Union Baywide 5.65 4.75 4.75 -
Credit Union North 6.45 - - -
Credit Union South 5.65 4.75 4.75 -
Finance Direct - - - -
First Credit Union 5.85 3.99 4.49 -
Heartland 6.70 7.00 7.25 7.85
Heartland Bank - Online - - - -
Heretaunga Building Society 5.75 4.65 4.80 -
HSBC Premier 5.24 3.54 3.20 3.69
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
HSBC Premier LVR > 80% - - - -
HSBC Special - - - -
ICBC 5.15 3.18 3.18 3.20
Kainga Ora 5.18 3.97 4.05 4.39
Kiwibank 5.15 4.20 4.30 4.64
Kiwibank - Capped - - - -
Kiwibank - Offset 5.15 - - -
Kiwibank Special - 3.45 3.55 3.89
Liberty 5.69 - - -
Napier Building Society - - - -
Nelson Building Society 5.70 4.25 4.15 -
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
Pepper Money Near Prime 5.64 - 5.44 5.44
Pepper Money Prime 5.18 - 4.98 4.98
Pepper Money Specialist 7.59 - 7.39 7.39
Resimac 4.50 4.45 3.89 3.94
RESIMAC Special - - - -
SBS Bank 5.29 4.85 5.05 5.49
SBS Bank Special - 3.39 3.55 3.89
Sovereign 5.30 3.89 4.05 4.39
Sovereign Special - 3.39 3.55 3.89
The Co-operative Bank - Owner Occ 5.15 3.49 3.59 3.89
The Co-operative Bank - Standard 5.15 3.99 4.09 4.39
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
TSB Bank 6.09 4.19 4.35 4.69
TSB Special 5.29 3.39 3.55 3.89
Wairarapa Building Society 5.50 3.95 4.05 -
Westpac 5.34 4.15 4.09 4.49
Westpac - Offset 5.34 - - -
Westpac Special - 3.39 3.55 3.99
Median 5.34 3.96 4.09 4.39

Last updated: 21 February 2020 4:32pm

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