Weekly Digest – 20 March 2024

Weekly Digest – 20 March 2024

Welcome to our Weekly Digest – stay in the know with some recent news updates relevant to business and the economy.

Fruit and vege prices fall 9 per cent in last year as food price inflation continues to ease

Fruit and vege prices have fallen 9.3 per cent in the past 12 months driven down by tomatoes, broccoli, and lettuce, new Stats NZ data shows. Overall food price inflation was just 2.1 per cent for the year to February – the lowest it has been since the year to May 2021.

Doing it tough: What households are dropping to cut costs

Times are tough – even for those on average and above-average incomes. Interest rate hikes, rent, mortgage and food costs mean skipping takeaways just isn’t cutting it. Kiwis are looking at bigger sacrifices such as KiwiSaver holidays and selling the car – to stretch the pay packet further.

Stats NZ figures show that retail card spending fell a seasonally-adjusted 1.8% in February after a bounce in activity in January

Total retail spending slumped 1.8% on a seasonally-adjusted basis last month, according to Statistics NZ. This continues a volatile pattern, with sales having bumped up 2.0% in January when compared with the prior month.

Bank profits may have plateaued as operating expenses rise

Bank profits may be levelling out as a weaker economy and high interest rates slow consumer spending and borrowing, with banks substantially increasing their provisions for bad debts.

Major workplace and public holiday changes signalled by Govt

Workplace Relations Minister Brooke van Velden has unveiled her plans for this term, including overhauls of health and safety regulation and making changes to the Holiday Act.

Nicola Willis reveals economy has slipped further this year

Finance Minister Nicola Willis is challenging businesses to play a greater role in rebuilding the economy while also revealing the books are in worse shape than thought.

Stats NZ announces review of the CPI basket

The consumers price index (CPI) basket of goods and services used to measure inflation will be updated in April 2025, Stats NZ said today.

Small retailers poised for growth despite retail squeeze, says e-commerce expert

Contrary to predictions that the days of small retailers are numbered, emerging new technology and shopper values suggests small retailers are well-positioned to thrive in the coming years—unlike the retail middle which will do it tough.

Finding our tech niche: How rockets, software and AI could boost economy by $20b

What do rockets and software in NZ have in common? Not all that much – apart from the fact that they’re both on track to be giants of the New Zealand tech sector in the next decade, each estimated to be worth over $10b in exports by 2030.

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