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Weekly Overview and Offshore Overview July 31 2008

Welcome to the July 31 2008 editions of the BNZ Weekly Overview and Offshore Overview.

Consistent with our survey result of a month ago another bank survey this afternoon has shown a small pullback in business confidence about the economy over the next 12 months. This week we have also learnt about weakness in residential and non-residential construction along with a rapid slowing in the rate of lending growth to the household sector and to a lesser extent the business sector.

But lending growth to farming remains very strong and is likely to hold up over the coming year as the slowly falling New Zealand dollar boosts the returns in our agricultural sector then exporters more generally.

Offshore the news this week has generally been bad with further worries about financial institutions in the United States and early sharp falls in oil prices being reversed overnight in response to lower than expected gasoline inventories in the US. In Australia confirmation of consumer confidence hitting retail spending was received with retail sales down 1% in June.

This week we consider the question of whether easing monetary policy means it is time to adopt a floating mortgage rate and respond to a locals challenge that house prices don't fall in Taupo.


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