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deposit rates

Rates Update: F&P responds to PGG with sharp rate hikes

The week past saw some major rate changes in the non-bank deposit-taking space in what seemed to be a tussle between two equally rated finance companies.

Monday, 7 February 2011

by Sophia Rodrigues

Fisher & Paykel made some big moves in interest rates as it raised rates across most terms up to five years. The move was likely in response to rate increases made by PGG Wrightson in early January and the overall higher rates it has been offering compared with F&P.

Both companies are BB rated which from an investor point of view means equal risk, though a savvy investor may find there could still be big differences in the risk profiles between the two companies.

F&P made a sharp 225-basis-point increase in 12-month guaranteed deposit rate to take it to 6.25% for a minimum amount of $1,000. This compares with 5.80% that PGG Wrightson is offering for a minimum amount of $500. PGG had made a similar big move for this term a month ago.

In case of non-guaranteed one-year deposits, F&P raised the rate by just 50 basis points to 7.25% which compares with 7.20% offered by PGG.

Probably the most attractive rate is the 6% offered by F&P on three-month non-guaranteed deposits which compares favourably with other finance companies and banks. Investors may note that the Treasury has made no provisions for default by finance companies under the extended guarantee scheme which indicates it sees remote chances of this occurring.

Surprisingly, last week PGG made downward moves in the 90-day space which makes F&P's rates all the more appealing.

Among banks, National Bank made a 50 basis point cut in the five-month deposit rate and an increase of 50 basis points in the six-month term. ANZ National's other brand ANZ, however, didn't make similar changes so we now have both the brands offering exactly opposite rates for the four and five-month terms.

In other rate changes, ASB lowered the six-month deposit rate by 10 basis points to 5%, after having raised it by a similar quantum just two weeks back.  RaboDirect continues to be leader there with 5.15%.

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