OCR decision revealed

Wednesday 8 May 2019

The Reserve Bank has taken the bold step of cutting the Official Cash Rate to a new record low of 1.50%. Here’s why.

The Reserve Bank said: 

The Official Cash Rate (OCR) has been reduced to 1.5 percent.

The Monetary Policy Committee decided a lower OCR is necessary to support the outlook for employment and inflation consistent with its policy remit.

Global economic growth has slowed since mid-2018, easing demand for New Zealand’s goods and services. This lower global growth has prompted foreign central banks to ease their monetary policy stances, supporting growth prospects.

However, there is uncertainty about the global economic outlook. Trade concerns remain, while some other indicators suggest trading-partner growth is stabilising.

Domestic growth slowed from the second half of 2018. Reduced population growth through lower net immigration, and continuing house price softness in some areas, has tempered the growth in household spending. Ongoing low business sentiment, tighter profit margins, and competition for resources has restrained investment.

Employment is near its maximum sustainable level. However, the outlook for employment growth is more subdued and capacity pressure is expected to ease slightly in 2019. Consequently, inflationary pressure is projected to rise only slowly.

Given this employment and inflation outlook, a lower OCR now is most consistent with achieving our objectives and provides a more balanced outlook for interest rates.

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