90 at 9, Tuesday February 12, 2008

Welcome to interest.co.nz’s morning briefing of what’s news here and around the world. Everything you need to start the day in 90 seconds at 9’oclock…. Starting now
With news that finance company MFS Pacific is planning to seek a moratorium on capital and interest repayments on its 0 million of debentures.
MFS Pacific also said it was finalizing the details of a cash payment from its Australian parent MFS that it said would significantly improve returns for investors.
Elsewhere, the Reserve Bank of Australia as virtually promised it will hike interest rates early in March. It is worried about the inflationary effects of strong domestic economic growth, rising house prices and still rampant demand for commodities from Asia.
The RBA’s move will be watched close by our Reserve Bank Governor Alan Bollard when he makes his decision on interest rates on March 6. He has said the Asian and Australian outlooks will be important factors and any Australian rate hike would give him some company if he chooses to hike rates here. Although it has to be said, all economists here expect him to hold rates on March 6.
And finally Macquarie New Zealand has announced a fresh collapse in the value of its Macquarie Fortress Notes after it was forced to dump loans onto a hostile American market to ensure it did not continue breaching its banking convenants. Investors have now lost 65% of the value of the notes.
That was 90 seconds at 9 o’clock. I’m Bernard Hickey for interest.co.nz