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Harbour Macro Research Day: Mixed Signals

Harbour’s internal Macro Research Day is a chance to hear from external research providers, challenge assumptions and anchor our medium-term view.
The local outlook is mixed. Monetary conditions have eased and should support a recovery, but structural impediments mean business confidence may not pick up.
The global picture has improved which makes additional central bank support less likely.
Harbour held its bi-annual interna...

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Hamish Pepper | Posted on Nov 28, 2019
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Electricity demand smelting away?

  • The probability of closure versus 2013 has increased

  • Weak commodity prices, energy and transmission costs are the main issues

  • As in 2013, the electricity industry may bow to Rio Tinto’s pressure, but possibly not the Government this time

  • Higher volatility in share prices and wholesale electricity prices is likely near term

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Craig Stent | Posted on Oct 23, 2019
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NZ Monetary Policy: Diminishing Returns

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) kept the Official Cash Rate (OCR) at 1.0% at its OCR Review this week, surprising the market with a rather sanguine tone, given the deteriorating global backdrop.

The RBNZ noted that both fiscal and monetary policy have scope to provide additional stimulus.

As the OCR plumbs new lows, questions are being raised over the efficacy of additional rate cuts.

This note highlights potential i...

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Hamish Pepper | Posted on Sep 26, 2019
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4 sustainability trends from the latest company reporting season

Key points:

  • Sustainability disclosure has improved
  • Key focuses include climate change, diversity and waste
  • Real world impact alignment on the rise
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Jorge Waayman | Posted on Sep 13, 2019
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Banks make a start on new capital

A new capital security issued on Tuesday night by Westpac Banking Corporation (Westpac) has highlighted the lack of higher-yielding opportunities available for New Zealand-based investors.

Banks fund the loans they make from deposits, bonds and shareholders’ contributions.  In Australia, that’s also the order in which funds are repaid in the event of default.  To go into further detail, there’s also a class of securities that...

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Simon Pannett | Posted on Jul 18, 2019
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Interest Rates Race to Zero?

Yields on fixed interest securities, which have been falling sharply all year, took another surge lower last week. The 5-year swap rate, a good proxy for market rates in New Zealand reached 1.36%, down from 2.20% at Christmas 2018 and 2.65% a year ago. That’s a record low level for NZ bond yields. The primary catalyst last week was a signal that the US Federal Reserve is close to cutting rates. They are joining the central ban...

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Harbour Team | Posted on Jun 24, 2019
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Responsible investing and equity returns

There is a growing awareness that stock returns are influenced by Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) considerations.  As a long-term proponent of incorporating ESG factors into our assessment of companies, Harbour is delighted to have been involved in Armillary Private Capital’s annual review of returns of the NZ listed sector for 2018 that was released last week.

This is Armillary Capital’s ninth annual Return on Cap...

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Jorge Waayman | Posted on Jun 20, 2019
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Harbour Macro Research Day

In recent years, Harbour’s internal six-monthly Macro Research Day has been an important part of our research calendar. It provides an opportunity to undertake a thorough review of the medium-term outlook for the macroeconomy and its implications for fixed interest, equity and multi-asset portfolios.

Our Macro Research Day last week commenced with presentations by economists from two of New Zealand’s largest banks discussing key drivers of the New Zealand economy. This included business confidence and the potential impact of the Reserve Bank capital requirements which has recently been one focus of our research agenda.

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Harbour team | Posted on Apr 16, 2019
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Bond yields hit record lows; but a rate cut is not a done deal

New Zealand government stock yields fell to record low levels across all maturities last week, as the Reserve Bank acknowledged the weaker global economic outlook and the ensuing risks to the domestic economy. We think:

The economy has slowed but is still growing.
Bond yields appear to be pricing in a recession, which seems unlikely.
Rate cuts in New Zealand are not a done deal.
The decline in yields has been dramatic this ye...

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Mark Brown | Posted on Apr 1, 2019
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Responsible investing extends beyond a green label

Contact Energy has announced its intentions to raise capital via a “green bond”.  

A green bond is a debt security that has been verified to be backing assets, or projects, that have positive environmental or climate change benefits. 

Green bonds can bring societal benefits by facilitating funding for projects with positive environmental impacts. Just as credit ratings indicate the likelihood of a bond defaulting, the green ...

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Simon Pannett | Posted on Feb 15, 2019
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Australian Royal Commission: Final report shakeup

After a year long review the Hayne Royal Commission (RC) into Misconduct in Financial Services has laid out recommendations. This reshaping of the financial services industry has significant implications and received strong political support, ahead of a likely election by 18 May 2019. It is possible that the Labor Party may have a harsher interpretation of potential changes than the RC recommends.

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Andrew Bascand, Simon Momich | Posted on Feb 5, 2019
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Core NZ inflation pressures, lifting towards 2 percent

This week saw the release of NZ CPI inflation for Q4 2018.  While headline annual inflation measure remained below 2%, the details showed core underlying pressures a little stronger than expected and continuing to lift to target. Rather than sparking any immediate change in policy direction, in our view, the CPI release will see the RBNZ continuing to “watch, worry, and wait”.

Leading into the CPI release, the market had been...

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Mark Brown | Posted on Jan 25, 2019
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US earnings season delivers, but raises questions about future growth

Q3 US Earnings season was strong with 410 of the S&P 500 stock index beating consensus expectations. What wasn’t so strong was earnings guidance, which has led the market to downgrade future earnings expectations. While the outlook for US earnings looks less certain, we take some comfort from macroeconomic data which paints a solid picture of economic expansion.

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Chris Di Leva | Posted on Dec 13, 2018
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The Third Scenario – The End of Goldilocks

While the RBNZ expects to keep the OCR on hold through 2019 and into 2020, in their past two Monetary Policy Statements they have outlined two alternative scenarios: one with stronger inflation pressures; and another with softer economic growth. In our view, the market is currently underestimating the chances of a third scenario, which is a combination of both stronger inflation pressures and softer economic growth.

One of th...

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Harbour Team | Posted on Nov 15, 2018
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US mid-terms election results: it’s now Blue and Red

With Andrew Bascand on a company research trip in Denver, Colorado, he has shared his on the ground views of the US mid-term election results and their implications.

My impression is that the US equity markets are fairly sanguine following the US election result because right now it is not about the politics – the economic data remains helpful and on track for the economic expansion to continue through 2019.  The mid-terms ou...

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Andrew Bascand | Posted on Nov 9, 2018
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Harbour Navigator: Postcard from China - The eCommerce growth model

I visited China last week and met with companies and commentators to dig beneath the data and get a sense of the current issues.

We visited many malls and shopping centres. In particular we went to mother and baby stores to experience the consumer in action, and witnessed the new eCommerce model. We also visited “wet markets”, hired bicycles with WeChat, and saw progress with a2’s new Chinese-labelled product. We saw first-ha...

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Andrew Bascand | Posted on Sep 14, 2018
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Continued growth of responsible investment in New Zealand

The Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA) has recently published their fourth annual New Zealand Responsible benchmark report[i] that shows the size and growth of responsible investing in New Zealand over the 2017 calendar year. 

Harbour is delighted to have been included for the third consecutive year as one of four domestic asset managers that are using a leading approach to Environmental, Social and Governa...

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Jorge Waayman | Posted on Aug 23, 2018
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Harbour Navigator: Regime Change at the RBNZ

The path of least regret for the RBNZ appears to be letting core inflation rise above 2%.
A broad interpretation of the mandate motivates actions to support growth and business confidence.
As the new regime beds down there may be more volatility in the rates and FX market, with a new voting committee still yet to come in 2019.
In last week’s Monetary Policy Statement (MPS), the RBNZ surprised markets by shifting the projected ...

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Harbour Team | Posted on Aug 14, 2018
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Harbour Navigator: Deflationary risks in New Zealand abating

A key theme for the New Zealand economy in 2018 has been the potential crossroads facing the economic outlook. For the past 5 years, we have seen strong economic activity and low inflation keeping interest rates low and asset prices high. However, looking forward there are signs that economic activity is moderating at the same time as inflation pressures are emerging.

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Christian Hawkesby | Posted on Aug 1, 2018
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Tariff Wars

A muted global market reaction so far?

With no further escalation, the implications for New Zealand from the current US-China tariff war are likely to be limited. Any escalation, however, will have a significant impact on global growth, company earnings, the stock market and the general appetite for risk. Already, some sectors may be more impacted via supply chain disruption, competitive pricing changes and the economic spill...

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Andrew Bascand | Posted on Jul 24, 2018
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Banking sector under the spotlight

An Australian Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services industry has started to hear evidence. The so-called Hayne interim report into banking misconduct won’t be issued until 30 September though, unlike previous reports into the banking system, this inquiry is in the full public glare and, with more than 3,000 submissions, we can expect Justice Hayne to highlight further evidence o...

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Andrew Bascand | Posted on Apr 6, 2018
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How active management can provide a solution to technological disruption

The impact of technology is one of the most exciting aspects of being a professional investor. Technology can enable a business to significantly enhance its service offering, improving customer service and hopefully making an increased profit along the way – a win-win.

Disruptive technology, however, is when technology, or the convergence of multiple technologies, is sufficiently powerful enough to disrupt existing companies ...

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Oyvinn Rimer | Posted on Mar 29, 2018
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A New Reserve Bank Governor and Policy Targets Agreement

Adrian Orr started yesterday as the new Governor of the RBNZ, and earlier this week, signed a Policy Targets Agreement (PTA) with the Minister of Finance, Grant Robertson. As widely expected, the announcement included many of the outcomes of Phase 1 of the Government’s RBNZ Review; reaffirming the RBNZ’s position as a flexible inflation targetter; adding a dual mandate of “supporting maximum sustainable employment”; and, shift...

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Harbour Team | Posted on Mar 28, 2018
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Trade Wars...Or Negotiations?

While many of the details of the US Government’s proposed trade tariffs directed at China (aimed at reducing the US’s trade deficit with China) and China’s reciprocal tariffs, are yet to be made public, the immediate response is to increase uncertainty for investment markets.

Investment markets have initially interpreted a break out of a trade war as being negative for growth and as being inflationary.

In Harbour’s view, the...

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Shane Solly | Posted on Mar 26, 2018
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Harbour Equity Update: a2 Milk, Fletcher Building and CBL

This report will discuss three specific stocks (a2 Milk, Fletcher Building and CBL), as investor interest in these stocks has been particularly high recently.

February is often a busy time for investment announcements, and this year has carried a number of surprises.

In the month of February, provisional return data indicates Harbour’s active NZ and Australasian equity funds and mandates, out-performed the market benchmark ...

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| Posted on Mar 1, 2018
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A Prudent Response to Expensive Housing

With 60% of Australian bank lending housing related, banks are bound inextricably to the property cycle. Unlike the worst-hit global geographies, the Australian household did not go through a period of deleveraging post-GFC, as housing credit continued to outpace income growth. With this backdrop, regulators are now doing their utmost to increase banks’ resilience and the banks too are chipping in.

There is not only one Aust...

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Simon Pannett | Posted on Nov 28, 2017
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Xi's China: More of the same, or big changes ahead?

In what is undoubtedly the most significant change of global leadership in 2017, President Xi Jinping of China has consolidated his powers further into the next five-year term.

Source: Xinhuanet (official press agency of the People’s Republic of China)

Xi is now ranked as one of the most influential Chinese leaders since the Cultural Revolution and has staffed the Politburo Standing Committee with five close allies. The Stan...

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Oyvinn Rimer | Posted on Oct 26, 2017
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A new NZ Government: Market Implications

After a long period in opposition, we now have a Labour-led government in coalition with New Zealand First, and with support from the Green Party. The most significant initial market reaction has been a fall in the NZ dollar by around 2 percent and NZ share market by 1 percent on the open, as markets priced-in the possibility of a deterioration in business confidence and nervous overseas investors. This Navigator will set out ...

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Harbour Team | Posted on Oct 20, 2017
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NZ Election: Business as Usual

After the hard-fought NZ election campaign, markets are still left with some political uncertainty, with no
clear government formed on election night.

As the political parties enter coalition negotiations, an eventual National-NZ First Government appears
more likely than Labour-Greens-NZ First. However, it is still far too early to call. Consistent with the
last 8 MMP elections in NZ, it will likely take some time for a Gover...

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Harbour Team | Posted on Sep 25, 2017
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NZ Election: Down to the No.8 Wire

The New Zealand election on 23 September may come down to the (No. 8) wire. By international standards, both National and Labour-led governments appear relatively centrist, without large policy differences. However, New Zealand equity market valuations are full, meaning that the market may become increasingly sensitive to changes in macro-economic settings, uncertainty and change. Some investors may want to be patient and see ...

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Harbour Team | Posted on Aug 31, 2017
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Investment Implications from Electric Vehicle Momentum

It has been hard to miss recent headlines relating to the progress of electric vehicles (EVs) and the
phasing out of the internal combustion engine (ICE) that powers the majority of today’s cars.

In May, Daimler announced the funding of its first European battery plant for its future Mercedes
EVs. Last week, Volvo announced that all its new-model cars will have an electric drivetrain by 2019;
a mix of hybrids and pure EVs. Ov...

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Oyvinn Rimer | Posted on Jul 7, 2017
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RBNZ: Inflation, What Inflation?

At yesterday’s Monetary Policy Statement (MPS) release the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ)
genuinely surprised financial markets, by assessing that the economic data received since February had a
neutral impact on the appropriate stance of monetary policy. While in the lead up many commentators
had focused on the recent jump in annual Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation, the RBNZ’s response
could be summed up as “what infl...

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Harbour Team | Posted on May 12, 2017
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Beware a 2019 Recession

Some superstitious investors worry about the chance of a global recession in 2017.  They figure that the stockmarket crash in 1987, Asian crisis in 1997 and start of the GFC in 2007 make this the obvious year for troubles in markets.   While it is difficult to find an economist that will forecast a recession, the maturity of the business cycle does warrant some caution.   However, first we need to see more signs of consumer pr...

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Harbour Team | Posted on Apr 7, 2017