Murky labour market data and an elf shortage

There are a few Antipodean events out for the week for markets to get their teeth into this week: NZ labour market data; the RBNZ’s Financial Stability Report (FSR), and; the Reserve Bank of Australia’s interest rate announcement.

The labour market data will, unfortunately, give a murky picture of what is going on.  We know the labour market was running red hot prior to the start of the delta community outbreak, but heat has come on businesses up and down the country as a result of months of disruption.  The response rate for the Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS) has been impacted, which reduces its reliability.  The Quarterly Employment Survey, an employer-based measure of jobs, likely missed the lockdown impact altogether.  For the record though, we expect the measured unemployment rate to print at 3.9%, but to rise in the future.  Wage pressures are likely to mount.

Wednesday morning brings the FSR, with housing a key financial stability risk the RBNZ is focusing on.  Introducing debt-to-income ratios is the next step the RBNZ will proceed with.  The FSR will be preceded by a speech Tuesday morning from RBNZ Governor Adrian Orr detailing “the unsustainable level of house prices” and “why the bank cares about the concentration of risk associated with housing and the current drivers of house prices”.

On Tuesday afternoon, financial markets will be bracing for both the Melbourne Cup and to see if the RBA starts to walk away from its bond yield target and its commitment to keep the cash rate on hold until 2024.

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Jane Turner

Senior Economist

Originally hailing from sunny Nelson, Jane moved to Auckland to join the ASB team in 2008.  As Senior Economist, Jane's main focus is co-ordinating the team’s macro-economic forecasts.  In this key role, Jane was thrilled by the team’s twice consecutive win of the Consensus Economics Forecast Accuracy award.   

During her decade-long career in economic forecasting, Jane has gained a thorough knowledge of the New Zealand economy.  Her current focus is on New Zealand GDP growth, including both manufacturing and the construction sectors.  She has spent time forecasting most sectors of the economy, including inflation, trade, housing, labour and financial markets.

Prior to joining ASB, Jane honed her macro-economic forecasting skills at the Reserve Bank of New Zealand.  Jane is a qualified scarfie, attending Otago University and graduating with a Bachelor of Commerce in Economics with 1st class honours.  In 2014, she took a career break from ASB to travel the world and learn to snowboard.

Mark Smith

Senior Economist

Mark joined ASB in 2017, with over 20 years of public and private sector experience working as an economist in New Zealand and the UK.

His resume includes lengthy stints at ANZ and the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, and he has also worked at the Bank of England, HM Treasury and the New Zealand Transport Agency. Mark's areas of specialisation include interest rate strategy, macro-economic analysis and urban economics.

Born and bred in the Waikato, Mark studied at Waikato University where he graduated with a Master of Social Sciences, majoring in Economics.

Mark's key strengths are the ability to use his extensive experience, inquisitive nature, analytical ability, creativity and pragmatism to dig a little deeper and to deliver common sense solutions to tackle complex problems.

When not at work Mark likes to travel, keep fit and spend time with his friends and family.

Mike Jones

Senior Economist

Mike joined ASB in 2019 armed with almost 15 years of experience in applied macroeconomic and financial markets analysis.

Mike's career has been all about distilling the risks and opportunities of economic and financial market trends for business. Basically asking the "what does it all mean" question. Mike's enthusiasm and skill for drawing out practical, commercial insights from the murky world of economics has been honed over a relatively broad base of experience.

After spending the early part of his career on the tools at the Reserve Banks of both NZ and Australia, Mike had a lengthy stint at BNZ where he was NZ’s top-ranked currency strategist. His regular and topical macro research also saw him pick up several FX forecast accuracy gongs from Bloomberg.

Drawn in by the prospect of putting strategy into practice, Mike moved from Wellington to Auckland in 2013 to join Fonterra as GM Treasury Risk Management. In this role, Mike lead Fonterra’s macroeconomic research output, and was responsible for the strategy and execution of Fonterra’s foreign exchange, debt, and interest rate hedging programmes.