New Zealand Leaves Rate Unchanged

New Zealand’s central bank kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged for a second month at 2.50 percent and said it may cut borrowing costs further as a rising currency threatens a recovery from the worst recession in three decades.

Reserve Bank Governor Alan Bollard said: Despite signs of a leveling off in economic activity, the economy remains weak. We continue to expect to see a patchy recovery get underway toward the end of the year, but it will be some time before growth returns to healthy levels.

The outlook remains highly uncertain. New Zealand’s merchandise exports are heavily weighted to soft commodities. As a result, New Zealand has not benefited to any significant extent from the rebound that has occurred recently in global hard commodity prices.

Overall economic growth is evolving broadly in line with our forecasts in the June Monetary Policy Statement as the low OCR and stimulatory fiscal policy take effect. However, looking forward the level of the New Zealand dollar and wholesale interest rates are higher than assumed in our forecasts. The level of the dollar in particular, is not helping the sustainability of future growth, and brings with it additional economic risks.

The forecast recovery is based on a further easing in financial conditions. If this easing does not occur, the forecast recovery could be put at risk. In these circumstances we would reassess policy settings.

Annual CPI inflation is currently well within the target band and it is expected to track comfortably within it over the medium-term.

We consider it appropriate to continue to provide substantial monetary policy stimulus to the economy. The OCR could still move modestly lower over the coming quarters. We continue to expect to keep the OCR at or below the current level through until the latter part of 2010.”

New Zealand Leaves Rate Unchanged, Reserve Bank of New Zealand
7/29/2009 6:46:28 PM