Article by Liam Dann, originally published by NZ Herald
The prospect of a new Prime Minister after this month's Federal election should hardly rattle Australian markets - they've seen more than their fair share in the past decade.
But the election on May 18 does put the spotlight on the Australian economy which retains considerable influence over New Zealand's fortunes despite being relatively flat in the past year.
Our KiwiSaver funds are heavily invested in Australian stocks and our property market has historically tended to follow the direction set in Sydney.
The ASX-200 share index last week broke through into record territory for the first time since the global financial crisis, Pie Funds chief executive Mike Taylor told Market Watch.
The slump in property prices - in particular in Sydney and Melbourne which are both off around 15 per cent - was also starting to show signs of easing, Taylor said.
"There is starting to be evidence that those markets are stabilising, auction clearance rates are lifting in both centres."
One of the big drivers of the slump in Sydney and Melbourne had been an over supply of the apartment market.
"There appears to be less cranes about," Taylor said. "The on the ground feel is that all the apartments have been built and there are no new major projects kicking off."
The Reserve Bank of Australia is expected to cut Australia's official cash rate by 0.25 basis points next week in response to the softer property market and wider economic slow down.
That would likely further boost the ASX-200, Taylor said.
Beyond that, future cuts would probably depend on the unemployment rate, he said.
Longer term the only thing that really mattered for Australia was China, Taylor said.
As an market it represented of 30 per cent of Australia's export earnings.
There were positive signs on that front with commodity prices having improved and Government stimulus starting to arrest the slowdown of GDP growth in China.
For most local investors it was important to keep an eye on the Australian economy, Taylor said.
With only 180 or so local companies on the NZX most people with money invested in markets had stake in Australia and the ASX, he said.
"I think if the property market can stabilise, the RBA puts one rate cut through, with the China stimulus and a trade deal between China and the US looking better, I think Australia can kick on in the second half of the year."