4 Jun 2015

Business briefs

2:04 pm on 4 June 2015

A round-up from Radio New Zealand's business reporters:

Dunedin laboratory damaged

Blis Technologies says its laboratory in Dunedin has been water damaged due to flooding in the city.

The biotechnology firm says while it hasn't fully assesed the damage, it's not expected to be materially disrupt its operations at the Glasglow Street site.

The company says it carries comprehensive insurance coverage for such events.

500,000 using Xero's online software

Xero says it has more than half a million subscribers using its global online accounting software.

The company says it's now aiming to get to one million users.

Commodity prices dive

Separately, commodity prices have taken another dive, with falls in dairy prices leading the way.

The ANZ Commodity Price Index fell 4-point-7 percent in May compared to the previous month, and 18 percent for the year.

When converted back into New Zealand dollars, returns at the farmgate fell 2 point 7 percent, and 7 point 9 percent for the year.

ANZ says New Zealand dollar denominated export commodity prices are now their lowest in more than two years.

$2.8 billion more earned from exports than spent on imports

Statistics New Zealand says the country earned $2.8 billion more from exports than it spent on imports in the year to March.

Australia took the top spot as New Zealand's largest export destination, at $13 billion, followed by China at $10.7 billion.

New Zealand sent $2.8 billion dollars worth of dairy products to China, half the value in the previous year.

The main source of imports came from the European Union at $11.5 billion, mainly due to cars and parts, then Australia.

New Zealand's largest positive trade balance was with Australia at $1.9 billion, followed by China at $1.5 billion, and the Philippines at $600 billion.

The largest negative trade balances were with the European Union at 3 point 4 billion and and Singapore $1.4 billion.

Online retail spending grows

Online retail spending is growing.

The BNZ Online Retail Sales Report says spending, using technology, jumped by 7 percent in April, when compared with the same month a year ago.

It says online spending now exceeds 3-billion-dollars a year.

Purchases from international firms is expanding at double-digit growth, with spending up 14 percent on April last year.

Three FMA appointments

Three people have been appointed to the board of the Financial Markets Authority.

Campbell Stuart, William Stevens and Mark Todd will start on June the 8th for terms of three to five years.

Mr Stuart is a chartered accountant, Mr Stevens has been a director and investment advisor to Craigs Investment Partners since 2001, while Mr Todd is a barrister.

Meanwhile, Michael Webb has been reappointed to the board for another year.