Good morning all.
For the convenience of email-avoiding subscribers and samplers, here's the email sent earlier on Thursday, including news of a 13.3% fall in milk powder prices and a 13.9% rise in Auckland house values. This was the biggest fall in dairy prices in four years and the fastest house price growth in 12 years.
The Reserve Bank held its Official Cash Rate (OCR) at 3.5% as expected, but it surprised some mostly international investors by talking about increasing interest rates again, albeit at a later stage. Here's the 10 things of note from the December Quarter Monetary Policy Statement (MPS) , the subsequent news conference and a Finance and Expenditure Select Committee hearing.
Labour updated its fiscal plan on Monday to adjust for the slightly lower revenue track forecast by Treasury in last week's Pre-election Fiscal Update (PREFU). Here are the 10 things of note:
The Green Party has launched its election policy on rivers and lakes, including setting a national standard that they are all safe for swimming. Federated Farmers said the policy would shut down the economy.
Green Party Co-Leader Russel Norman proposed the creation of a state-owned Green Investment Bank to fund clean technology businesses. Here's my briefing on the policy details, the political positioning and the pros and cons.
The Government appears to have softened its opposition to collecting more data on the residency of house buyers, but has stopped short of agreeing to either an inquiry or restrictions on ownership.
The Government is still on track for a 'wafer thin' budget surplus in the upcoming 2014/15 year, but growing signs of weaker-than-forecast tax receipts is putting that forecast under pressure.
The average residential electricity bill rose 2.9% in 2013, including a 2.2% increase in distribution and transmission charges and a 3.4% increase in energy and retail charges.
The hawkishness of Reserve Bank's forecasts yesterday and Governor Graeme Wheeler's clear reluctance to intervene in the New Zealand dollar saw the currency spike more than a cent higher to touch 86 USc overnight. The NZ dollar rose briefly yesterday to a record post-float high of 80 on the Trade Weighted Index.