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iPredict: Economic & Political Update #2

iPredict: Economic & Political Update #2

8 February 2012


Key Points:

• Bashar al-Assad to survive February as Syrian dictator
• Australian PM Julia Gillard wobbly but safe till at least July
• Campbell Newman to win Ashgrove and oust Labor’s Anna Bligh as Queensland Premier on 24 March
• Australian cash rate to be cut on 6 March
• New Zealand National / Maori Party coalition to remain intact through February but a Minister is set to lose their position in 2012
• New Zealand economic forecasts remain steady despite more positive BNZ business survey
• NZX and Kiwi Dollar both expected to be up for the week on Friday
• Crafar farms settlement not likely till next week
• New Zealand Labour to win 2014 election with NZ First or Maori Party holding balance of power

Hot Topics

Bashar al-Assad will survive the month as President of Syria, trading by the 6000 traders on New Zealand’s online prediction market, iPredict, suggests. Contracts predicting whether or not he will survive in March, April and May have been launched this morning.

In Australia, the market indicates that Julia Gillard will remain Prime Minister until at least July but Anna Bligh is set for defeat as Queensland Premier on 24 March. In the US presidential election, Barack Obama will defeat Mitt Romney, who will be Republican nominee.

Back in New Zealand, there is only an 11% probability the National / Maori Party confidence and supply agreement will be modified or cancelled in February but an 80% probability a Minister will lose their position in 2012.

New Zealand economic forecasts are steady despite more positive business confidence data this week, but the New Zealand Stock Exchange and Kiwi Dollar are both expected to be up for the week on Friday Settlement of the Crafar farm sale is likely next week, but with only 55% probability.

The New Zealand Defence Force is expected to outsource its payroll services in 2012.

David Shearer’s Labour Party remains favoured to win the 2014 New Zealand election.

New Zealand Economic Forecasts

New Zealand growth has remained broadly stable this week and is expected to be 0.5% for the December 2011 quarter, 0.5% for the March 2012 quarter and 0.4% for the June 2012 quarter.

There’s been a slight increase of 0.1% in forecast unemployment for the March quarter this week. Unemployment is now forecast to be 6.6% for the December 2011 quarter, 6.5% for the March 2012 quarter and 6.3% for the June 2012 quarter.

Inflationary expectations for the June 2012 quarter have fallen 0.1% this week. Inflation is now forecast to be 1.6% for the March 2012 quarter, 1.6% for the June 2012 quarter and 2.1% for the September 2012 quarter.

The Official Cash Rate is not expected to be increased until December 2012 at the earliest.

Petrol prices are set to fall with the market now predicting there is an 80% probability that 91 unleaded petrol prices will drop to between $2.02 and $2.10 for the week ended 24 February 2012.

As with last week, there is an 86% probability the minimum wage will be increased in 2012, with a 60% probability the increase will be in the 1-25c range, and an 18% probability the increase will be in the 26-50c range.

Fonterra’s final payout has moved for all tracked periods this week. There was a $0.04 drop on last week for the 2011/12 financial year with the market now predicting $7.12 per kilogram of milk solids before retentions. The payout in 2012/13 has dropped $0.02 to $7.14, the 2013/14 payout has increased $0.04 to $7.38, and the 2014/15 payout has increased $0.07 to $7.38.

Current account deficit expectations are 4.02% of GDP to December 2011, and 4.09% to March 2012.

International Economic Forecasts

There is a 34% chance at least one Euro member will depart the single currency in 2012.

The Reserve Bank of Australia is expected to reduce its cash rate from by 25 points to 4.00% at its meeting on 6 March 2012 meeting.

Gold is expected to trade at $1732.31 USD per troy ounce on 1 March 2012.

There is only a 40% probability the US Senate will formally approve a resolution of ratification of the Trans Pacific Partnership by July 2015.

International Politics

The political leadership in major New Zealand trade and investment partners is expected to be relatively stable over the next year. Barack Obama has a 64% probability of being re-elected US President, defeating Mitt Romney who has an 88% chance of being the Republican nominee. Romney has an 87% chance of winning the Maine Caucus and a 96% chance of winning the Colorado Caucus. Rick Santorum has a 72% chance of winning the Minnesota Caucus, and a 93% chance of winning the Missouri Primary.

In Australia, there is only a 31% probability Prime Minister Julia Gillard will step down by 1 July 2012. The Liberal National Party is expected to win the 2012 Queensland State Election.

In the UK, the Conservative / Liberal Democrat coalition is expected to survive 2012.

In France, however, there is a 79% probability Francois Hollande will win the presidential election over incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy.

In Syria, Bashar al-Assad is expected to continue serving as President by 1 March 2012.

There is a 28% probability Israel will launch an airstrike against Iran in 2012 and a 17% probability North Korea will detonate an atomic device.

Science and Climate Change

There is a 74% probability average global temperatures will be hotter in 2012 than in 2011 and an 11% probability 2012 will be the hottest year on record. There is only a 21% probability the OPERA experiment showing neutrinos exceeding light speed will be replicated in 2012. There is a 73% probability that there will be a formal announcement of the iPad 3 in March 2012.

New Zealand Politics

There is a 53% probability Labour will form a Government after the next General Election, with a 39% probability David Shearer will be Prime Minister by 1 January 2015.

Party vote forecasts are: National 43.1%, Labour 34.5%, Greens 9.1%, NZ First 5.0%, Conservative 2.7%, Act 1.7%, Maori Party 1.4%, Mana Party 1.3%, and UnitedFuture 0.6%.

The Maori Party is expected to win 3 electorate seats and the Mana Party 1 seat. UnitedFuture has a 63% probability of winning an electorate seat and Act a 52% probability. The Greens, New Zealand First and Conservative parties are not expected to win electorate seats.

Under these electorate and party vote results, the New Zealand Parliament would consist of: National 53 MPs, Labour 43 MPs, the Greens 11 MPs, New Zealand First 6 MPs, the Maori Party 3 MPs, Act and the Mana Party 2 MPs each, and UnitedFuture 1 MP. There would be 121 MPs, requiring 61 to govern.

David Shearer’s Labour Party could form a Government with the support of the Greens, New Zealand First, and either of the Maori, Mana, or UnitedFuture parties. Alternatively, John Key’s National Party could mathematically pull together a Government with the support of NZ First, and either of the Maori or Act parties.

As Act’s hold on an electorate and New Zealand First’s hold on 5% are both tenuous, iPredict has considered the chances of neither, one or both of these results eventuating. Under all of the outcomes, either New Zealand First or the Maori Party would hold the balance of power.

Grant Robertson and Judith Collins are favoured should there be a vacancy in the leadership of either the Labour or National parties.


iPredict is owned by Victoria University of Wellington. Details on the company and its stocks can be found at www.ipredict.co.nz. The weekly political snapshot is taken at a random time each week to avoid market manipulation.


© Scoop Media

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