RBNZ’s risky assumption clouds OCR outlook

The August Monetary Policy Statement was the most influential yet under new Governor Adrian Orr, even though there was no change to the official cash rate (OCR). Mr Orr pushed out expectations for a rates hike until 2020, sending the New Zealand dollar sharply lower.

But it was the Governor’s assertion that rates could and would move lower, if weak indicators persist, that is both his biggest warning and most questionable stance.

Another construction firm bites the dust

The placement of Ebert Construction in receivership continues the trail of woe in the non-residential construction industry. Businesses in the industry seem to be facing ongoing profitability problems, as reflected by the difficulties experienced by Fletcher Building and Hawkins (among others) over the last couple of years. Yet these problems are occurring despite total construction activity growing by an average of 5.6%pa since mid-2011.

Find Your Fit this Got A Trade! Week

This week marks the 2018 Got A Trade! Week, promoting trades training to young New Zealanders. Infometrics is a passionate sponsor of the Got a Trade? Got it Made! campaign, which is in its fourth year.
Infometrics recently highlighted future growth opportunities by skill level over the next five years, and also put out the From education to employment: Megatrends affecting NZ’s working environment report which looks at key emerging trends in the working environment over the next 20 years.

Putting automation in perspective

The potential job losses from automation between now and 2036 could be more than five times the job losses in shrinking occupations since 2000. At a regional level, areas with faster economic, employment, and population growth have generally exhibited more dynamism in their workforces over the last 20 years. As a result, it seems likely that they will be better able to adapt to changing workplace needs in coming years.

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.

What drives aggregates freight?

Aggregates – various forms of crushed rock – are used for building and road construction. These materials accounted for 11% of total freight volumes (tonnes) in 2012/13 but tend to travel short distances. Nevertheless, with growing demand for construction materials, especially in Auckland, aggregates road freight is likely to track upwards over the years ahead.

Striking while the iron’s hot

Twenty-seven years after the Employment Contracts Act made union membership voluntary, the current coalition government has named Jim Bolger – the Prime Minister in 1991 – to head its Fair Pay Agreements working group. Fair Pay Agreements are meant to become the centrepiece of employment law policy, yet no one is quite sure yet what they are, or how they will alter employment relations. Among these changes, strike action by nurses, and union meetings, we thought we’d provide a primer on various aspects of the industrial relations scene.