Here are five key insights from the webinar:
A LONG WAY TO GO
Retail spending bounced back after New Zealand came out of the Level 4 lockdown. But Sharon Zollner warns it’d be wrong to think it’s all over. That surge in spending could be a one-off from pent-up demand.
When the current wage subsidies end unemployment is likely to spike, especially in the tourism, retail and hospitality sectors. Those sectors are all big employers.
That could have a flow-on effect to house prices. Queenstown and Rotorua are the regions with the highest uptake of the mortgage repayment deferral scheme. That’s a sign of the pressure the tourism sector is under.
STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES
We can keep eliminating Covid-19 as required and we’re getting better at it, but we can’t be complacent. Masks, social distancing and testing will be important to avoid another lockdown.
Global food prices have been strong; helped by supply and production disruptions internationally, and floods and locust plagues in China. While bad news for the world, it’s good news for an export nation like New Zealand.
However, the tourism sector are taking a big hit from the border restrictions. The border restrictions are the right thing to do for both public health and the economy, but come at an economic cost that will be felt much more intensely over summer.
The New Zealand dollar is strong because the US dollar is out of favour and our commodity prices are proving resilient. However, the strong NZ dollar is tough on exporters and therefore of concern to the Reserve Bank, making lower interest rates more likely.
ADAPTING TO CHANGE
Many businesses are reassessing their strategic plans based on the disruption and uncertainty caused by Covid-19.
Mark Hiddleston says many customers are not only creating new plans, but are executing on them at pace.
ANZ are having to do this too. The bank had a long-term plan for Contact Centre staff to be able to work at home, right across the country. Covid-19 meant that a three-year plan was reviewed, redesigned and implemented in a couple of weeks.
That was possible because the plan was already in the works.