Economic News

NZ business sentiment is less dire, RBNZ hint at rate cycle high

NZ business sentiment is less dire, RBNZ hint at rate cycle high

Business outlook is now -37.6, up 25.9 points higher than the June low. Business outlook rose for a third month and at its fastest m/m pace since December 2020. Activity outlook rose from-4 to -1.8. Import intentions expanded for a second month. A large improvement for profit expectations, even though it remains negative overall. Credit conditions highest since mid-2021. All sectors see improved activity vs 1-year ago. Pricing intentions are still high, but inflation expectations dipped below 6% for the first time in six months.

Business sentiment may not be going from strength to strength, but to see pessimism lose its grip after multi-year lows certainly a step in the right direction. Besides, investors tend to look at the rate of change over the absolute level of such indicators, and right now it looks very likely that business sentiment hit its low in June.

The inflation and higher rates are having a negative effect on business sentiment. At 3%, RBNZ has one of the highest cash rates among the major economies and second place to the BOC and Fed at 3.25%. It’s likely we’ll see another 25bp hike but it’s also possible we could be nearing the terminal rate. Governor Orr said in August that the next rate move is not obvious and earlier today he said, whilst there’s still work to do regarding rates, the tightening cycle was already very mature. So against that backdrop, we suspect a 25bp hike on October the 5th, and may even see a pause-and will look for such clues in the October statement and minutes.

AUD/NZD is currently within its seventh consecutive bullish month and risen over10% from its September 2021 low. It still has the potential to move back to the 2015 high round 1.1680, but we’ll also keep in mind the potential for a policy divergence between the RBNZ and RBA. And it is by identifying such potential inflection points ahead of time that investors stand a better chance of getting more for future moves in currency markets. On that note, AUD/NZD is on track for a bearish pinbar week around current levels, below 1.1500.