Pete Wargent blogspot

CEO AllenWargent Property Buyers, & WargentAdvisory (institutional). 6 x finance author.

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Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Dairy rebound soared by currency

Changing tides

There are many similarities between the economies of Australia and New Zealand.

Both are running strong immigration programs from Asia, underpinned by international students from China and India. 

Both are struggling with weak commodity prices.

Each country has a big city with a firing construction industry and billions of dollars being channeled in by Chinese investors (cf. Auckland and Sydney). 

And both have relatively low national unemployment rates which mask under-utilisation and a general weakness in their respective labour force. 

The NZ dairy industry has been having a terrible time of late, with most of the entire industry operating at a loss. 

There has been a welcome recent bounce in the price of milk - with whole milk powder prices hitting a one-year high - but to date at least this has been undermined by the strong NZ dollar (many echoes here with Australia's battles with the prices of iron ore and coal). 

Migration to NZ

There was a seasonally adjusted net gain of 100 migrants into NZ from Australia in August, taking the annual total to 1,800 Trans-Tasman permanent relocations, according to Statistics New Zealand.

About a third of of the total so-termed permanent arrivals into NZ are actually Kiwis returning home.

At the peak of the mining boom Kiwis were travelling in the other direction in droves, helping push Australia's immigration to extraordinarily high levels, particularly in the resources states. 

Over the year to August 2016 there were 25,610 migrants to NZ from Australia, up moderately by 1,130 from 24,480 in the year to August 2015.

The impact on Australia's immigration is fairly negligible since two-third of settlers in Australia now hail from Asia, but as an indicator of the underlying weakness in Australia's economy, it's not bad. 

Technically NZ has an unemployment rate of just 5.1 per cent, though if you live outside Auckland the economy probably doesn't feel that great. 

Again, a very similar story in Aussieland really, where the unemployment rate has declined from 6.3 per cent to 5.6 per cent without any real sign of an uptick in wages growth.

Tomorrow's Australian Demographic Statistics figures for Q1 2016 will likely show Australia's population growth tracking at around 325,000 per annum, with a record high share of that growth taking place in Melbourne and Sydney as regional population growth slows. 

I'll chart all the key figures as usual. In particular, I'll be taking a keen interest in net interstate migration up to Queensland, which normally we'd expect to see rising at this stage in the cycle.