24 Jul 2019

Today's business news: What you need to know

4:24 pm on 24 July 2019

Latest - Treasury says the government will need more than unconventional monetary policy to stimulate the economy if it turns sour.

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Photo: 123RF

A report to the Finance Minister in January, released under the Official Information Act, outlined Treasury's thoughts on what might be need to maintain living standards.

It recommends temporary changes to some tax rates and giving households free cash to increase spending and underpin growth.

Treasury says those options would fit with unconventional monetary policies, such as the Reserve Bank offering cheap loans to banks, quantitative easing or taking the official cash rate below zero.

However, it says those measures are risky and have never been used in New Zealand, and if interest rates were to turn negative then it might result in people physically hoarding cash.

Separately the Reserve Bank has confirmed that it's in the early stages of rethinking what options it has in the event of a major downturn.

New Zealand's trade deficit narrows

The deficit has reached its lowest level in nearly a year as imports fell.

Official numbers show the deficit for the 12 months ended June was $4.9 billion compared with $5.6bn in May.

The smaller deficit was largely because of reduced oil and vehicle imports, while exports were lifted slightly by logs and dairy sales.

For the month there was a surplus of $365 million - the fourth surplus in a row.

China remains the country's biggest export market, accounting for more than a quarter of all sales, and offsetting softer returns from Australia and the United States.

New owner for Auckland Whale & Dolphin Safari

An Australian tourism and transport company is buying the Auckland-based whale-watching tour agency.

The acquisition will expand Entrada's existing portfolio of tourism and maritime businesses in Auckland.

Entrada, formerly known as InterCity group, will keep all of the company's staff

Jail time for foreign exchange fraudster

The operator of a foreign exchange ponzi scheme has been jailed for six years and three months.

Kelvin Wood defrauded 18 clients out of more than $7 million when he used investors funds to pay out other investors over 8 years, and reported fake profits.

The case was referred from the Financial Markets Authority to the Serious Fraud office in 2017.

Read here for more on this story.

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