Higher interest rates necessary
The Monetary Policy Committee today increased the Official Cash Rate (OCR) from 3.5% to 4.25%.The Committee agreed that the OCR needs to reach a higher level, and sooner than previously indicated, to ensure inflation returns to within its target range over the medium term.
Core consumer price inflation is too high, employment is beyond its maximum sustainable level, and near-term inflation expectations have risen.
Global consumer price inflation is broad based and remains heightened. Food and energy prices, and persistent core inflation, have combined to create very high headline inflation in many countries.
Central banks are tightening monetary conditions in an effort to slow spending and reduce inflation pressure.
The ongoing slowdown in global growth will affect New Zealand through both financial and trade channels, and impact on people’s confidence due to uncertainty.
In New Zealand, household spending remains resilient, especially considering the rise in debt servicing costs, the fall in house prices, and low levels of consumer confidence. Employment levels are high, and income growth and household savings are supporting spending. The rebound in tourism is also supporting domestic demand.
The productive capacity of the economy is being constrained by broad-based labour shortages, and wage pressures are evident. Aggregate demand continues to outstrip New Zealand’s capacity to supply goods and services, with a range of indicators continuing to signify broad-based inflation pressure.
Committee members agreed that monetary conditions needed to continue to tighten further, so as to be confident there is sufficient restraint on spending to bring inflation back within its 1-3% per annum target range.
The Committee remains resolute in achieving the Monetary Policy Remit.