New Zealand central bank keeps rates on hold

US Dollar May Rise on PPI Data RBNZ Threatens FX Intervention

Reserve Bank keeps OCR at 1.75 per cent

The bank maintained its forecast that rates won't rise until the third quarter of 2019, and lowered its projections for inflation.

The New Zealand dollar jumped, however, with the Reserve Bank still indicating it expects to begin raising the benchmark OCR from next year.

It notes that the exchange rate increased since May monetary policy largely due to a weaker dollar.

"Monetary policy will remain accommodative for a considerable period", Wheeler said although he added the caveat that "numerous uncertainties remain and policy may need to adjust accordingly".

We remain of the view that monetary policy is unlikely to change until at least the second half of 2018.

Despite growth globally becoming more broad-based "inflation and wage outcomes remain subdued across the advanced economies, and challenges remain with on-going surplus capacity", Mr Wheeler said.

All 21 economists in a Reuters poll expected the central bank to stay put on Thursday, but some had expected it to strike a more dovish tone by acknowledging the recent run of softer data or adjusting its inflation and interest rate forecasts. But that was due to temporary influences such as food and fuel prices. "We would like to see a lower exchange rate", he said, before reminding his listeners around the world that intervention in the foreign exchange market is "always open" to the RBNZ.

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"You've seen good output and employment growth over the last five years, but you've seen weak productivity growth", Wheeler said.

Governor Graeme Wheeler said economic growth was expected to pick up in the coming months, supported by strong net migration, low interest rates and spending outlined in the May Budget.

In the first quarter of this year, New Zealand's economy grew a below trend 0.5%, after an anemic 0.4% expansion in the fourth quarter blamed on temporary factors including an natural disaster.

New Zealand's housing market is also cooling, led by a drop in Auckland prices, which may reduce pressure on inflation and keep interest rates lower for longer.

That's at least partly due to lending restrictions introduced by Wheeler, whose five-year term as governor ends September 26.

House price inflation continued to moderate due to loan-to-value ratio restrictions, affordability constraints, and a tightening in credit conditions.

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