Banks gird for rising mortgage stress
Economy Watch · 4 minutes ·

Banks gird for rising mortgage stress

Kia ora,

Welcome to Tuesday's Economy Watch where we follow the economic events and trends that affect New Zealand.

I'm David Chaston and this is the International edition from

Today we lead with news Australia's banks find few home loan borrowers can resume normal mortgage repayments.

But first, China's foreign exchange reserves rose in August, although but not by as much as was expected.

They were boosted by China's August exports which were up a healthy +9.5% from a year ago and that was far more than expected. But their imports were down -2.1% which was also more than expected. That means their trade surplus was higher than forecast and the best since May 2019. Almost 60% of their surplus is from trade with the US and that surplus is a huge US$34.2 bln for the month. Container volumes pouring into the US West Coast ports confirm the trade. With New Zealand, China ran a trade deficit of -NZ$500 mln in the month.

Strong import demand of food items in China is raising global food prices.

And in Taiwan, their international trade rose as well, but with a better balance. Their exports rose more than expected, by +8.3% above the August 2019 level, and their imports rose a very similar amount.

In the US we should note that they are on a long holiday weekend - Labor Day - and their markets won't reopen until Wednesday our time.

And the S&P500 futures suggest that Wall Street will return with about a +0.5% rise. That will be after last week's -2.0% fall.

Yesterday, the ASX200 ended up +0.3%, the NZX50 Capital Index was up +0.7%. Shanghai however closed down a sharp -1.9%, Hong Kong down -0.4% and Tokyo closed down -0.5%. American and many European markets were closed yesterday.

In Australia, their independent services PMI survey has come in weaker in August than it was in July. And that is supported by new data that shows a stall in the rebound of Australian job ads.

And ANZ is requiring borrowers for up-market property in Melbourne to front up with 30% deposits. It claims it is preparing for mortgage stress to peak in the middle of 2021. This reassessment is happening as it is becoming clear that only a small 13% of borrowers who agreed deferral terms have resumed normal repayments. 87% haven't.

The latest global compilation of COVID-19 data is here. The global tally is 27,201,000, up +251,000 since yesterday. 

Just under a quarter of all reported cases globally are in the US, which is up +25,000 to 6,473,000 and a relentless rise despite the holiday weekend and the official reluctance to test. 

In Australia, there have now been 26,322 COVID-19 cases reported, and that is only +43 more cases overnight and clearly the Victorian emergency easing.

The UST 10yr yield is still at 0.72% while Wall Street is on holiday.

The price of gold is down -US$6 and now at US$1,929/oz.

Oil prices are lower today, down to just on US$39/bbl in the US while the international price is down to just on US$42/bbl.

The Kiwi dollar is softer again today and now at 66.9 USc. Against the Australian dollar we are softer too at 91.9 AUc. Against the euro we are little-changed at 56.6 euro cents. That means our TWI-5 has slipped marginally to 69.9.

The bitcoin price is also lower again today, but only marginally, now at US$10,178.

You can find links to the articles mentioned today in our show notes.

And get more news affecting the economy in New Zealand from

Kia ora. I'm David Chaston. We will do this again, tomorrow. 

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