Markets do not have the same steady flow as they did at the time of the previous Mirror in February. Metal merchants are now more prone to suggesting that business is more sporadic, with a mixture of busy and slower days. Consumers are also saying that orders are softer, perhaps in line with the volatility on the LME.
Inflationary pressure remains a real concern in New Zealand, with the rate currently sitting at 6.9%. Unemployment is at record lows (the current rate is 3.2%), with wage growth and competition for labour very topical. The Reserve Bank’s Official Cash Rate is now set at 1.5% and is expected to increase further in the near term. Sentiment surrounding house prices is cooling for the first time in two years. Supply chain issues remain a major headache, with the rapid increase in shipping rates worrisome for all exporters.
Australia is also experiencing inflationary pressure but at a significantly lower 5.1% than the 6.9% recorded in New Zealand. The unemployment rate is also low in Australia at 4% and supply chain issues - while less woeful than in New Zealand - are still causing problems. Metal merchants and consumers echo New Zealand sentiment about the mixture of busier and slower days, but overall the economy seems to be tracking ahead of its neighbour at present.