As widely expected the RBNZ kept its overnight cash rate (OCR) unchanged at 2.75 percent. In his statement, governor Graeme Wheeler said that decisions to lower the OCR further would be data dependent. He noted that a stronger New Zealand dollar means that a lower OCR would be needed.
The statement said that global economic growth is below average and global inflation is low despite highly stimulatory monetary policy. "Financial market volatility has eased in recent weeks, but concerns remain about the prospects for slower growth in China and East Asia especially. Financial markets are also uncertain about the timing and effects of monetary policy tightening in the United States and possible easings elsewhere."
"The sharp fall in dairy prices since early 2014 continues to weigh on domestic farm incomes. However, growth in the services sector and construction remains robust, driven by net immigration, tourism, and low interest rates. Global dairy prices have risen in recent weeks, contributing to improved household and business sentiment. However, it is too early to say whether these recent improvements will be sustained."
House price inflation in Auckland remains strong, posing a financial stability risk. While residential building is accelerating, it will take some time to correct the supply shortfall. CPI inflation remains below the 1 percent to 3 percent target range, largely reflecting a combination of earlier strength in the New Zealand dollar and the 60 percent fall in world oil prices since mid-2014. Annual CPI inflation is expected to return within the target range by early 2016.
With the drop in diary prices still weighing on domestic inflation and the Chinese economy slowing, the central bank's governor signaled that he is still minded to add to the three rate cuts made this year.
Eight times a year, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand meets and decides whether to change or maintain New Zealand's Official Cash Rate. The RBNZ is known for its clarity regarding monetary policy intentions, thus the result is usually foreseen in advance. The decision aligns with the Reserve Bank of New Zealand's monetary policy to spur or slow economic growth or affect the exchange rate.
The RBNZ maintains an inflationary target range of 1 percent to 3 percent and will change rates to keep it within such a range, making rate decisions fairly predictable. Rate changes are significant nonetheless, affecting interest rates in consumer loans, mortgages, and bond rates. Increases or even expectations for rate increases tend to cause the New Zealand Dollar to appreciate, while rate decreases cause the currency to depreciate.
The RBNZ determines interest rate policy at it policy meetings. These meetings occur roughly every six weeks and are one of the most influential events for the markets. Market participants speculate about the possibility of an interest rate change. However, since the Bank is known for its clarity in setting policy, the result is usually built into the markets in advance. The level of interest rates affects the economy. Higher interest rates tend to slow economic activity; lower interest rates stimulate economic activity. Either way, interest rates influence the sales environment. In the consumer sector, few homes or cars will be purchased when interest rates rise. Furthermore, interest rate costs are a significant factor for many businesses, particularly for companies with high debt loads or who have to finance high inventory levels. This interest cost has a direct impact on corporate profits. The bottom line is that higher interest rates are bearish for the financial markets, while lower interest rates are bullish.
Eight times a year.