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OCR unchanged at 8.25 percent

The Official Cash Rate (OCR) will remain unchanged at 8.25 percent.

Reserve Bank Governor Alan Bollard said: "The outlook for the New Zealand economy remains broadly consistent with the view outlined in the December Monetary Policy Statement. While the housing market continues to cool, the labour market remains tight, domestic income growth is still strong, especially from dairy, and core inflationary pressures persist.

"Since the December Monetary Policy Statement there has been ongoing turbulence in international financial markets and a deterioration in the outlook for the United States and European economies. We will be watching these developments closely, particularly their implications for the Asian and Australian economies and for world commodity prices.

"Despite this, the New Zealand economy is projected to keep growing reasonably well. Ongoing inflationary pressures are underpinned by an expansionary fiscal policy, and rising food and energy prices, which will be under further pressure with the Emissions Trading Scheme in a year's time.

"On balance, the outlook for interest rates is little changed from the December Monetary Policy Statement, but the level of uncertainty has increased. Although CPI inflation is expected to remain above 3 percent during 2008, we believe that the current level of the OCR remains consistent with future inflation outcomes of 1 to 3 percent on average over the medium term."

Media Contact:
Mike Hannah
Head of Communications
Ph 04 4713671, 021497418, [email protected]