RBNZ: Rates on hold until 2020

By Leith van Onselen

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) has released its latest Monetary Policy Statement, whereby it has left the cash rate unchanged at an “expansionary” 1.75% and noted that rates are likely to remain on hold until 2020:

The Official Cash Rate (OCR) remains at 1.75 percent.

We expect to keep the OCR at this level through 2019 and into 2020. The direction of our next OCR move could be up or down.

Employment is around its sustainable level and consumer price inflation remains below the 2 percent mid-point of our target, necessitating continued supportive monetary policy. Our outlook for the OCR assumes the pace of growth will pick up over the coming year, assisting inflation to return to the target mid-point.

Our projection for the New Zealand economy, as detailed in the August Monetary Policy Statement, is little changed. While GDP growth in the June quarter was stronger than we had anticipated, downside risks to the growth outlook remain.

Robust global economic growth and a lower New Zealand dollar exchange rate is expected to support demand for our exports. Global inflationary pressure is expected to rise, but remain modest. Trade tensions remain in some major economies, increasing the risk that ongoing increases in trade barriers could undermine global growth.

Domestically, ongoing spending and investment, by both households and government, is expected to support growth.

There are welcome early signs of core inflation rising towards the mid-point of the target. Higher fuel prices are likely to boost inflation in the near term, but we will look through this volatility as appropriate. Consumer price inflation is expected to gradually rise to our 2 percent annual target as capacity pressures bite.

We will keep the OCR at an expansionary level for a considerable period to contribute to maximising sustainable employment, and maintaining low and stable inflation.

The OCR has been at 1.75% since November 2016.

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  1. These kiwis 🥝 like us Aussies have forgotten what it means to be a small open economy….perhaps it’s hubris. Sure RBA & RBNZ can play with rates a bit at the margin but as rates rise in the US, NZ and Aus will be caught in the updraft like a flimsy piece of crapper paper…