News reports out of Australia yesterday were in sharp
contrast to the recent New Zealand economic news.
The one thing Australia does have in common with this country
is continuing rising house prices.
Recently, it was claimed the average Auckland house price was
more than that of Melbourne.
Statistics released yesterday showed prices in Melbourne rose
3.2% in January and nearly 12% for the year ending January
while prices in Sydney rose 0.8% in the month and 13.4% in
the January year.
Australian home values are now 4.8% higher than their
previous peak in October 2010, the RP Data Rismark Home Value
Building approvals data released showed total building
approvals fell 2.9% in December and approvals for private
sector houses fell 3.4% in Approvals for private sector
multi-unit properties fell 1.2% but last year, total building
approvals rose 21.8%Australia also has higher inflation than
New Zealand, with price rises last month for education, urban
transport fares and utilities.
In the 12 months to January, inflation was 2.5% compared with
2.7% in December.
The Reserve Bank of Australia is expected to cut its official
lending rate from 2.5% to 2.25% within weeks, while the
Reserve Bank of New Zealand expected to lift its official
cash rate from 2.5% to 2.75% next month, putting more
pressure on the rising New Zealand dollar's value against the
Fewer Australians were able to put away savings each month
and more people were anxious about finding a new job within a
couple of months if they needed to, a survey found.
Households battling to save any cash rose 2% to 51% in the
six months to December, the ME Bank's biannual Household
Financial Comfort Report found.
Single parents suffered the most anxiety, while retirees and
couples with children reported the highest level of comfort
when it came to savings.
The study of 1500 households also found nearly half had less
than $A5000 ($NZ5400) in savings for an emergency while 11%
were spending more than they earned. A further 5% were using
equity in their own home to make ends meet month-to-month.
And that was if they had a job.
The ANZ job advertisement series found job ads on the
internet and in newspapers had fallen again - but the rate of
decline was slowing.
The number of jobs advertised in January was 8.9% lower than
the previous January following a 16.7% fall in the preceding
Low interest rates and a falling Australian dollar were
failing to drive expansion in Australian manufacturing
activity which had contracted for three months in a row.
The Australian Industry Group's Performance in Manufacturing
index fell 0.9 points to 46.7 in January.
Below the 50-point level indicates the sector is contracting
and above 50, it is expanding.
It was the third consecutive month of contraction.
Comments from manufacturers indicated a lower Australian
dollar had started to benefit some manufacturing businesses
but exports remained fragile.