Good news x 3

15/06/2011

1.  After tax wages outstripped prices in march year:

After-tax wages continue to rise faster than prices, Finance Minister Bill English says.

The real after-tax average wage increased 2.5 per cent in the year to March 2011, after accounting for all consumer price increases including food prices and the one-off rise in GST last October.

“Everyone’s circumstances are different, and we appreciate things remain challenging for many New Zealanders. But it’s encouraging to see that, on average, take-home wages continue to rise faster than prices,” Mr English told Parliament today.

“In the latest March year, the after-tax average wage grew 7.1 per cent in nominal terms and 2.5 per cent after adjusting for inflation.

“This means that since September 2008, after-tax wages have increased 17 per cent in nominal terms and 10 per cent after adjusting for inflation.

“That compares with real growth of just 4 per cent over the entire nine years to September 2008.”

“To put these figures into perspective, New Zealand’s 2.5 per cent increase in inflation-adjusted after-tax wages in the latest year compares with just 0.6 per cent real growth in Australia.”

The figures use data on average weekly ordinary time earnings from Statistics New Zealand’s Quarterly Employment Survey. This is the official series used to calculate the wage floor for New Zealand Superannuation. Comparable data is drawn from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

“This Government is committed to helping New Zealanders get ahead, enjoy higher incomes and lower interest rates for longer,” Mr English says. “This will require continuing change, year after year, to put the economy on a more competitive footing.”

2. Outlook for economy continues to improve:

The best terms of trade since the early 1970s and growing business confidence are bringing a positive outlook for the New Zealand economy, according to the BusinessNZ Planning Forecast for the June quarter 2011.

The BusinessNZ Planning Forecast incorporates BusinessNZ’s Economic Conditions Index (ECI) which tracks 33 indicators, including GDP, export volumes, commodity prices and inflation, debt and confidence figures.

The ECI for the June quarter is 22. This is up 10 from the previous quarter and up 10 from a year ago.

Key factors include the continuing rise in world commodity prices and continued strong growth in New Zealand’s largest trading partners Australia and China.

Projections of 3-4% growth for 2012 and 2013 appear feasible.

3. MAF expects good returns for primary produce to continue in the medium term:

MAF’s Situation and Outlook for New Zealand Agriculture  and Forestry says:

New Zealand exporters are receiving high prices for logs, wool, lamb, timber, beef and dairy products as the rebounding global economy drives demand for commodities.

With the exception of horticulture, these rises are more broadly based than the 2008 rise, which mainly affected dairy prices.

Short-term supply disruptions such as droughts and floods in various parts of the world are a significant factor supporting recent agricultural price increases.

At the same time, the strength of demand coming through from emerging markets, the recovery in many developed economies, and continuing demand for agricultural resources for biofuel production has led
the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry to revise upwards its view of medium-term international agricultural prices.

The relative strength in the New Zealand dollar has seen only a portion of these foreign currency price gains passed through to New Zealand farmers and foresters. The strong New Zealand dollar has, however, also reduced the
impact of price rises in imports, especially fuel and fertiliser.

Beyond 2012, steady production growth in dairy, forestry, wine and kiwifruit, together with an assumed depreciation in the New Zealand dollar, leads to strong forecast growth in export revenues.

There is light at the end of the tunnel.

It isn’t a train coming towards us, it’s daylight and a sunny day at that.


Key facts for primary sector outlook

07/08/2008

MAF’s SONZAF (Situation and Outlook for Agriculture and Forestry)  key facts  indicate:  

Dairy

  • Dairy export earnings are projected to peak next year at $12 billion – more than 40% higher than earnings two years ago.
  • Dairy export earnings are projected to ease back to $10.5 billion in 2010 before rising again to just under $12 billion by 2012.
  • The weighted average payout (net of industry goods levy) for the next four years averages around $6 – significantly higher than the previous five year period. Detailed payout projections are $6.90 (2009), $5.78 (2010), $5.98 (2011), $6.32 (2012).
  • Demand is growing from new markets in China and OPEC countries. OPEC countries account for 21% of New Zealand’s total dairy exports.
  • The South Island continues to drive dairy herd expansion. The South Island herd grew by 13% last year – 31% of New Zealand’s dairy herd is now in the South Island.

Beef

  • Manufacturing beef (a type of minced beef) prices are expected to rise by more than 30% over the five year forecast period.
  • Beef export volumes are projected to fall by about 2% next year due to drought but to grow back to 2007 levels by the end of the five year forecast period.
  • Export returns currently at $1.5 billion are expected to climb steadily to $2.26 billion by 2012.

Lamb

  • Sheep numbers were down 4% at June 2007.
  • The drought and recent low prices are pushing further declines in sheep numbers – adult sheep slaughter increased by 28% for the year ended June 2008.
  • Lower stock numbers and lower weights mean lamb export volumes are projected to fall through the five year period by 11% to 287 000 tonnes.
  • Higher prices are set to push overall export earnings over the same period up by 25% from the current $2.1 billion to $2.6 billion.

Wool

  • The average wool sale price is projected to rise by just over 40% over the next five years to $5.35 per kilogram.
  • Wool volumes are projected to plateau as falling sheep numbers balance higher prices at 142 000 tonnes.
  • After an initial fall export earnings are projected to grow by 29% over the five year period to $795 million.

Forestry

  • Log prices and pulp prices are both projected to climb by more than 30% over the next five years.
  • Timber and panel export prices are projected to fall before recovering but volumes remain relatively flat over the next five years.
  • Overall forestry export returns are projected to grow from $3.3 billion in 2008 to $4.5 billion in 2012.

Wine

  • Wine grapes are now the largest single horticultural crop in New Zealand at more than 25 000 hectares.
  • A big harvest this year will boost export volumes by 30% in next year and increased plantings will push exports up by more than 50% by 2012.
  • The value of wine exports is projected to rise by 76% to $1.3 billion by 2012.
  • Sauvignon Blanc makes up 75% of wine exports and is New Zealand’s largest wine export followed by Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Merlot.

Kiwifruit

  • The current average price of $8.1 per tray of kiwifruit is projected to grow to $10.7 a tray by 2012.
  • Predicted kiwifruit export volumes remain static at just under 100 million trays over the next five years.
  • Kiwifruit export returns are projected to grow from $779 million dollars to $1.06 billion by 2012. 

MAF’s assumptions are based on expectations for “normal” climatic conditions with no allowance for domestic or international natural disasters nor major economic changes. Projections are based on Treasury’s exchange rate assumptions from the 2008 Budget.


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