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Financial News: New Zealand Central Bank Hikes Key Rate By

New Zealand Central Bank Hikes Key Rate By 50 Bps

05/25/2022 - 01:31:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - New Zealand's central bank raised its key interest rate by 50 basis points on Wednesday to curb the risk of inflation becoming persistent.

The Monetary Policy Committee of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand decided to lift the Official Cash Rate to 2.0 percent from 1.50 percent.

"Members agreed that while the direction of their monetary policy decision was clear, the extent and timing of future increases in the Official Cash Rate (OCR) still depends on the economic outlook and avoiding major risks," the bank said.

Although underlying strength remains in the economy, supported by a strong labor market, sound household balance sheets, continued fiscal support, and strong terms of trade, headwinds are strong, policymakers observed.

Strengthened global economic uncertainty and higher inflation are dampening global and domestic consumer confidence, the committee said. Asset prices, in particular house prices, have also declined, reflecting in part higher mortgage interest rates and increased supply of housing.

The central bank sounded hawkish when it hiked rates by 50 basis points today, the bank is likely to lift rates to 3.50 percent by the end of this year, Ben Udy, an economist at Capital Economics, said.

While inflation will still be above the top end of the Bank's target at the start of next year, there will be sufficient slowdown to justify an earlier end to the Bank's hiking cycle, the economist noted.

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