RBNZ Cuts Rate to Fresh Record Low


The Reserve Bank of New Zealand lowered its official cash rate by 50bps to a fresh record low of 1 percent at its August 2019 meeting, while markets had forecast a smaller 25bps cut. This was the first rate cut since May, aiming to support inflation amid weakening global economic activity and ongoing trade tensions. Policymakers signaled further rate cuts could be possible.

Reserve Bank of New Zealand policy statement:

The Official Cash Rate (OCR) is reduced to 1.0 percent. The Monetary Policy Committee agreed that a lower OCR is necessary to continue to meet its employment and inflation objectives.

Employment is around its maximum sustainable level, while inflation remains within our target range but below the 2 percent mid-point. Recent data recording improved employment and wage growth is welcome.

GDP growth has slowed over the past year and growth headwinds are rising. In the absence of additional monetary stimulus, employment and inflation would likely ease relative to our targets.

Global economic activity continues to weaken, easing demand for New Zealand’s goods and services. Heightened uncertainty and declining international trade have contributed to lower trading-partner growth. Central banks are easing monetary policy to support their economies. Global long-term interest rates have declined to historically low levels, consistent with low expected inflation and growth rates into the future.

In New Zealand, low interest rates and increased government spending will support a pick-up in demand over the coming year. Business investment is expected to rise given low interest rates and some ongoing capacity constraints. Increased construction activity also contributes to the pick-up in demand.

Our actions today demonstrate our ongoing commitment to ensure inflation increases to the mid-point of the target range, and employment remains around its maximum sustainable level.
Excerpts from the Summary Record of Meeting:

The Committee agreed that weak global economic conditions could see imported inflation remain low if global growth slows further or if commodity prices decline. The members discussed the range of appropriate policy responses should imported inflation persist at low levels.

The Committee welcomed the recent employment and wage data but noted that private sector wage growth was subdued despite businesses having difficulty finding labour. The members discussed that the recent slowdown in growth could dampen wage inflation by more than assumed. Some noted that if cost pressures remain elevated, firms may pass on costs to consumer prices by more than assumed, while others viewed the wage pass through as a natural consequence of a tight labour market and policy stimulus.

The members discussed the recent slower domestic GDP growth and the impact of slowing global demand on New Zealand through the trade, financial and confidence channels. The members noted that heightened global uncertainty was reducing investment and suppressing trading-partner growth. This highlighted the risk of a larger or more prolonged slowdown in global economic growth.

The Committee noted that additional stimulus from central banks had underpinned growth and reduced the likelihood of a more-pronounced slowdown. However, some thought that even with support from monetary stimulus, considerable economic and policy uncertainty could see global growth continue to decline. Other members noted that the easing in global financial conditions since the beginning of the year, or a shift in political environment, could lead to a pick-up in global growth over the next year.

The Committee acknowledged the importance of additional spending from households, businesses, and the government, to meet their inflation and employment targets. They also agreed that additional monetary stimulus was needed. The members discussed several important uncertainties.


 RBNZ Cuts Rate to Fresh Record Low


RBNZ | Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com
8/7/2019 9:31:31 AM