Reserve Bank Governor Alan Bollard said: Domestic activity has continued to expand at only a modest pace despite relatively strong commodity prices. More recently, domestic business confidence has fallen back somewhat. Further ahead, earthquake repairs and reconstruction in Canterbury are still expected to provide significant impetus for demand.
As foreshadowed at the time of the September Monetary Policy Statement, there is a real risk that the European sovereign debt crisis could cause a further slowing in global activity, putting downward pressure on New Zealand’s commodity export prices. The difficult international market conditions could also result in increased New Zealand bank funding costs over the coming year.
Annual headline CPI inflation continues to be above the Bank’s 1 to 3 percent target band. That largely reflects the one-off effect of last year’s increase in the rate of GST. September quarter inflation data suggest that, once GST and other one-off influences have passed, underlying inflation is settling near 2 percent.
Given the ongoing global economic and financial risks, it remains prudent to continue to keep the OCR on hold at 2.5 percent for now. However, if global developments have only a mild impact on the New Zealand economy, it is likely that gradually increasing pressure on domestic resources will require future OCR increases.”