Sounding the alarm!

Since the Reserve Bank surprised markets with its shift towards an easing bias, the outlook for interest rates has been a constant source of speculation. But the timing of the shift in stance was curious – in our view, nothing fundamental had changed, and the Reserve Bank is sending out the entire fire brigade to rescue a kitten from a tree.

Assessing China’s importance to regional New Zealand

Over the last month there have been a range of concerns raised about the diplomatic relationship between New Zealand and China, with the announcement that the 2019 China-New Zealand Year of Tourism launch event has been postponed and government decisions being critical of China setting a foundation for worry.

From the beach 2019

New Zealand’s domestic economy remains in a similar position to where it was 12 months ago: prospects of middling growth, somewhat hampered by capacity constraints and a tight labour market, and with some of the most significant potential shifts being driven by government policy and rule changes. In contrast to this largely unchanged domestic picture, many question marks have appeared during the last year over the international economic environment.

Trump’s tariffs threaten to start a trade war

Last month, US President Donald Trump imposed tariffs on imports from Canada, Mexico, and the European Union, alongside tariffs on over US$34b of Chinese imports. Taking into account tariffs imposed earlier this year, about US$90b of Chinese imports to the US are now covered, with threats that all US$505b of Chinese imports could yet be hit.

Rising fuel prices threaten to squeeze economic growth

Motorists have been incensed this week, with the price of 91 octane petrol heading over $2.30/l in some parts of the country. Increased fuel prices aren’t yet at the highest (real) levels we’ve ever seen – but they’re close. Based on the unrest in the Middle East, fuel prices might remain elevated for some time. This will hurt more than just the classic Sunday drive, with airfares, freight costs, and eventually goods prices also needing to increase to cover higher fuel bills.

The Panama Canal: mosquitoes, a soft voice and a big stick

A sense of intrigue prompted David Kennedy to visit Panama City – an oasis of wealth and success in Central America.  He was vaguely aware of its economic and historic importance: it is a metropolis of futuristic skyscrapers, an airline hub, a tax haven, a financial hub, a nexus of global trade, and a United States outpost of sorts.  He knew that all these attributes related, in one way or another, to the Panama Canal.

Most people coming from Australia… are Kiwi

A wee while back, Winston Peters complained that arrival data used by Herald reporters mistook arrivals from Australia as Australians (spoiler – it didn’t).  But he did raise an interesting question: who does come over from Australia when they move here long-term? Turns out, almost two thirds of people moving from Australia to New Zealand are in fact Kiwis.