Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search


While you were sleeping: More signs of weakness

While you were sleeping: More signs of weakness

August 31 (BusinessDesk) – Stocks on both sides of the Atlantic fell amid further signs of economic struggle in Japan and Europe and as hopes for an immediate boost from the US Federal Reserve fade.

Data showed retail sales in Japan posted a larger-than-expected drop in July from a year earlier, while economic confidence in the euro zone decreased more than forecast.

The latest US reports, while not as dire, were mixed again. Consumer spending increased 0.4 percent in July, Commerce Department figures showed. Claims for jobless benefits were steady last week.

"The improvement in spending activity suggests that overall economic activity may be off to a fairly decent start in the third quarter," Millan Mulraine, senior macro strategist at TD Securities in New York, told Reuters.

In late afternoon trading in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.67 percent, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index shed 0.71 percent and the Nasdaq Composite Index declined 0.93 percent.

Tomorrow Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will address a gathering of central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Opinions on whether he will announce fresh measures to stimulate the world's largest economy vary.

Bernanke “is probably not going to do anything this coming Friday because the labour market has been a little bit firmer than it was,” Kevin Gardiner, head of investment strategy for Europe, Middle East and Africa at Barclays’s wealth- management unit in London, told Bloomberg. “The Fed on balance will conclude that they don’t need to do anything just yet.”

However, today's auction of US seven-year bonds received support from those betting on further quantitative easing by the Fed. The securities yielded 1.081 percent, compared with a forecast of 1.087 percent in a Bloomberg News survey of eight of the Fed’s 21 primary dealers.

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index ended the day with a 0.8 percent slide from the previous close. National benchmark stock indexes in the UK, France and Germany also declined, losing 0.4 percent, 1 percent and 1.6 percent respectively.

Unemployment in Germany rose for a fifth consecutive month. Trouble keeps brewing in Spain as Murcia became the country's third region to say it will need emergency loans, highlighting the deterioration of the nation's finances.

Italy's borrowing costs eased as the nation sold 7.29 billion euros of debt at its first auction in a month.

"It's a lower yield than the previous one," Elisabeth Afseth, fixed-income analyst at Investec in London, told Reuters. "I think it is very much to do with the ECB, and if we hadn't had that, I suspect that both Spanish and Italian yields would have been considerably wider than where they are."


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Auckland Transport: Successful Bridge Repair Opens Two Additional Lanes To Traffic

The opening of two additional lanes on the Auckland Harbour Bridge this morning will help relieve some motorway congestion for motorists heading home to the North Shore tonight. More>>


Statistics New Zealand: COVID-19 Sees Record 12.2 Percent Fall In New Zealand’s Economy

Gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 12.2 percent in the June 2020 quarter, the largest quarterly fall recorded since the current series began in 1987, as the COVID-19 restrictions in place through the quarter impacted economic activity, Stats NZ said ... More>>


Climate: Scientists Release ‘Blueprint’ To Save Critical Ecosystems And Stabilize The Earth’s Climate

A group of scientists and experts produced the first comprehensive global-scale analysis of terrestrial areas essential for biodiversity and climate resilience, totaling 50.4% of the Earth's land. The report was published in Science Advances ... More>>


MPI: Independent Review Launched Into Assurances For Safe Transport Of Livestock By Sea

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has launched an independent review of the assurances it receives for the safe transport of livestock by sea. MPI Director-General Ray Smith says Mike Heron QC has been appointed to lead the review, which is expected ... More>>


Computers: New Zealand PC Market Grows Nearly 40% Due To Work From Home Demand

COVID-19 had large impacts on demand for PCs as businesses prepared for lockdowns by purchasing notebooks to mobilise their workforce. In the second quarter of 2020, New Zealand's Traditional PC market experienced a 39.7% year-on-year (YoY) growth ... More>>


University Of Auckland: Whale-Watching By Satellite – Follow Their Travels Online

Scientists have successfully attached satellite tracking tags to six New Zealand southern right whales, or tohorā, and are inviting the public to follow the whales’ travels online. Part of a major research project involving the University of Auckland ... More>>

Commerce Commission: Kiwibank Admits System Failures And Agrees To Pay Customers $5.2 Million

Kiwibank has entered into a settlement agreement with the Commerce Commission after reporting that it failed to have in place robust home loan variation disclosure policies, procedures and systems. In a settlement dated 27 August 2020, Kiwibank admitted that ... More>>

Ministry of Health: Public Transport Distancing Requirements Relaxed

Physical distancing requirements on public transport have been reviewed by the Ministry of Health to determine whether they are still required at Alert Level 2 (or below). The Ministry’s assessment is that mandatory face covering and individuals tracking ... More>>


NZHIA: New Zealand Hemp Industry Set To Generate $2 Billion Per Annum And Create 20,000 Jobs

A new report says a fully enabled hemp industry could generate $2 billion in income for New Zealand by 2030, while also creating thousands of new jobs. Written by industry strategist Dr Nick Marsh, the report has prompted calls from the New Zealand Hemp ... More>>


Stats NZ: One In 14 Employed People Report High Risk Of Losing Jobs

About one in 14 workers say they expect to lose their job or business by mid-2021, Stats NZ said today. A survey of employed people in the June 2020 quarter showed 7 percent felt there was a high or almost certain chance of losing their job or business ... More>>

ASB Quarterly Economic Forecast: NZ Economy Doing Better Than Expected, But Challenges Remain

August lockdown estimated to have shaved 8% off NZ’s weekly GDP, and 0.5% off annual GDP Economy now expected to shrink 5% (year-on-year) by end of 2020 Unemployment rate now expected to peak at 7.2% The latest ASB Quarterly Economic Forecast is less ... More>>