Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 


Wheeler lifts OCR to 2.75% in first hike since 2010

Wheeler lifts OCR to 2.75% in first hike since 2010, signals steeper rate track

By Paul McBeth

March 13 (BusinessDesk) – Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler lifted the official cash rate a quarter-point to 2.75 percent in the first move of a tightening cycle, and signalled potential for a steeper track for future hikes as he tries to prevent inflation accelerating.

“While headline inflation has been moderate, inflationary pressures are increasing and are expected to continue doing so over the next two years,” Wheeler said in a statement. “The speed and extent to which the OCR will be raised will depend on economic data and our continuing assessment of emerging inflationary pressures.”

The Reserve Bank sees a faster pace of inflation than in its December forecast, with the consumers price index rising to 2 percent as soon as the June quarter, a level the bank had previously expected in mid-2015. While a strong currency will keep a lid on imported inflation, the bank expects non-tradable inflation to increase to about 4 percent.

The monetary policy statement said the bank expects “the OCR will need to rise by about 2 percentage points over the next two years for inflation to settle around the target,” depending on the economic outlook.

“By increasing the OCR as needed to keep future average inflation near the 2 percent target mid-point, the bank is seeking to ensure that the economic expansion can be sustained,” Wheeler said. He’s tasked with keeping CPI between a range of 1 and 3 percent, with a target to keep inflation near the mid-point.

The central bank raised its forecast track for the 90-day bank bill rate, seen as a proxy for the OCR, by about 20 basis points from the June quarter this year, and sees the rate rising to 4 percent by the end of 2014 and 5.3 percent by March 2017. It had previously seen the rate increasing to 3.8 percent by the end of 2014, and 4.8 percent by March 2016. Yesterday, traders were betting Wheeler will lift the OCR 134 basis points over the coming 12 months, according to the Overnight Index Swap curve.

“While the RBNZ’s projected path of interest rate hikes could still reasonably be described as ‘gradual’ compared to past tightening cycles, it won’t leave much room for dallying – consecutive hikes at some stage are a given, and in our view are more likely to occur up front,” Imre Speizer, market strategist at Westpac Banking Corp, said in a note before the release.

Today’s hike had been fully-priced in by the market after the central bank signalled rates needed to rise as the local economy gathers momentum. Wheeler had previously been reluctant to lift the key rate because of the strength of the currency, which yesterday reached a new post-float high 79.68 on a trade-weighted basis.

The trade-weighted index was an average 78.18 in the March quarter, higher than the Reserve Bank’s December projection of 77.4. The bank now sees the New Zealand dollar remaining elevated for a longer period of time, with the TWI staying above 77 until the end of 2016.

“The high exchange rate remains a headwind to the tradables sector,” Wheeler said. “The bank does not believe the current level of the exchange rate is sustainable in the long run.”

The kiwi fell as low as 84.37 US cents before recovering to trade at 85 cents, from 84.73 cents just before the statement was released.

Wheeler said local economic growth has considerable momentum, underpinned by strong export commodity prices and construction activity, and is becoming more broad-based.

Growth has been buoyed by insatiable Chinese demand for New Zealand dairy products, making the world’s most populous nation the nation’s biggest trading partner, and keeping the terms of trade at a 40-year high.

The bank expects gross domestic product grew at a 3.3 percent pace in the year ending March 31, and forecasts growth of 3.2 percent the following year, up from a previous forecast of 2.7 percent. Growth is forecast to moderate to 2.2 percent in the years to March 2016 and 2017.

The Reserve Bank has held the OCR at a record low 2.5 percent since March 2011, a move similar to most of the world’s major central banks seeking to stimulate economic growth after the global financial crisis froze credit markets.

That’s largely ended as the US Federal Reserve notes a stronger American economy and sounder financial system, and has hinted at further winding back its bond buying programme. New Zealand is leading the pack, widening the interest rate gap with other developed economies, as the nation benefits from booming demand for its soft commodities, a pickup in home building, and increasingly confident businesses and consumers.

(BusinessDesk)

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Future Brighter Money: RBNZ Releases New Bank Note Designs

New Zealand’s banknotes are getting brighter and better, with the Reserve Bank today unveiling more vibrant and secure banknote designs which will progressively enter circulation later next year. More>>

ALSO:

Commerce: Supermarket Inquiry Finds No Breaches By Countdown

The Commerce Commission inquiry into anti-competitive behaviour by Countdown supermarkets, alleged by former Labour Party MP Shane Jones, has found nothing to warrant prosecution, although it warns supermarkets to take care in the way they communicate... More>>

ALSO:

Crown Accounts: English Flags ‘Challenge’ To Budget Surplus

Finance Minister Bill English is warning next month’s half yearly fiscal and economic update from the Treasury may not forecast a budget surplus, saying that returning the government’s accounts to surplus in 2015 will be “a challenge”, given the decline in commodity prices and weak global inflation. More>>

ALSO:

March 2015: Netflix To Launch In Australia And New Zealand

World’s Leading Internet Television Network to Offer Original Series, Movies, Documentaries, Stand-Up Comedy Specials and TV Shows for Low Monthly Price More>>

ALSO:

Price Of Cheese (Is Up): Dairy Product Prices Fall To Five-Year Low

Dairy product prices fell in the latest GlobalDairyTrade auction to the lowest level in more than five years, led by declines in rennet casein and skim milk powder. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Australians Scoring Trade Points Against Us With The Chinese

It hasn’t been a great year for Trade Minister Tim Groser... To top it off, Australia has just signed a FTA with China that has far better provisions on dairy exports than what New Zealand currently enjoys in our own FTA with China. More>>

ALSO:

Iwi & Local Consultation: Oil And Gas Block Offer 2015 Begins

Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges today announced the start of the Block Offer 2015 process for awarding oil and gas exploration permits. More>>

Industrial Action: Stats NZ Throwing Public Money Away Duplicating Data

The Public Service Association (PSA) says Statistics NZ are throwing money away by collecting the same data twice for official statistics such as the Consumer Price Index... As part of the ongoing industrial action, field interviewers who are PSA members are continuing to collect data, but are not sending it through to Statistics NZ. More>>

ALSO:

Other Stats:

Space: Rosetta's 'Philae' Makes Historic First Landing On A Comet

After more than a decade traveling through space, a robotic lander built by the European Space Agency has made the first-ever soft landing of a spacecraft on a comet. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news