We warn persistently here that volatility is a near-permanent feature of the Kiwi Dollar and on Wednesday it was back at the bottom of our one-day performance table having topped the chart earlier in the week. NZD/USD hit a low during the European afternoon around 0.7220; its weakest point since last Friday before then falling further in North America to a low just under 0.7210. Overnight in Asia it has fallen on to a 71 cents ‘big figure’ for the first time in more than a week and is once more lower against all the major currencies.
Earlier this morning, Stats NZ reported building consents for new townhouses, flats, and units were at a 23-year high, and apartments rose significantly in the year ended February 2018. Apartment numbers rose 29% to 3,166, compared with the February 2017 year. In addition, 5,077 townhouses, flats, and units were consented, up 12% over the same period. In contrast, new stand-alone house numbers were down 1.3% to 21,052 in the latest year, although they still accounted for two-thirds of all new homes. In the year ended February 2018, the total number of new homes consented rose 3.6%, compared with the February 2017 year.
As well as official economic statistics, never underestimate anecdotal evidence and what you see with your own eyes. Consultants and quantity surveyors Rider Levell Bucknall today supplied their half yearly update for the number of construction cranes in operation. Nationally, there are 125 tower cranes in operation at the end of March 2018, up only marginally from the 123 at the end of September 2017, but down from the 132 counted at March 2017. The Auckland crane tally rose by +10 to 83 with installations in the period of 33 replacing 23 that were removed. Most cranes are in large residential projects with 48 of the 83 units installed on these. But that is two less than six months ago whilst Christchurch and Wellington lost 4 cranes each in the period. The Kiwi Dollar opens in London this morning at USD0.7200 with GBP/NZD at 1.9560.