While the US Federal Reserve lifted its federal funds rate target to a range of 1.5-1.75% overnight, New Zealand’s Reserve Bank held its official cashrate at 1.75% this morning.
Bank governor Grant Spencer said in his release on the decision:
“The outlook for global growth continues to gradually improve. While global inflation remains subdued, there are some signs of emerging pressures. Commodity prices have continued to increase and agricultural prices are picking up. Equity markets have been strong, although volatility has increased. Monetary policy remains easy in the advanced economies but is gradually becoming less stimulatory.
“GDP was weaker than expected in the fourth quarter, mainly due to weather effects on agricultural production. Growth is expected to strengthen, supported by accommodative monetary policy, a high terms of trade, Government spending & population growth. Labour market conditions are projected to tighten further.
“Residential construction continues to be hindered by capacity constraints. The Kiwibuild programme is expected to contribute to residential investment growth from 2019. House price inflation remains moderate, with restrained credit growth & weak house sales.
“CPI inflation is expected to weaken further in the near term due to softness in food & energy prices and adjustments to Government charges. Tradables inflation is projected to remain subdued through the forecast period. Non-tradables inflation is moderate but is expected to increase in line with a rise in capacity pressure. Over the medium term, CPI inflation is forecast to trend upwards towards the midpoint of the target range. “Longer-term inflation expectations are well anchored at 2%.
“Monetary policy will remain accommodative for a considerable period. Numerous uncertainties remain and policy may need to adjust accordingly.”
Attribution: Bank release.