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OCR unchanged at 3.0 percent

The Reserve Bank today left the Official Cash Rate (OCR) unchanged at 3.0 percent.

Reserve Bank Governor Alan Bollard said: "Despite some data turning out weaker than projected, the medium-term outlook for the New Zealand economy remains broadly in line with that assumed at the time of the September Monetary Policy Statement.

"Downside risks to the outlook for global growth continue, with high public and private debt inhibiting recovery in many developed economies. Moreover, it is unclear how further policy support would impact on the outlook for growth in our Western trading partners. Offsetting this weakness, strong growth continues in China, Australia and emerging Asia.

"Domestically, recent data has turned out weaker than projected. Continued household caution has seen consumer spending and housing market activity remain muted, and many firms have become less optimistic about their future prospects. However, continued high export prices, along with reconstruction and repairs in Canterbury, will support activity over the coming year.

"Overall, continued GDP growth is expected to gradually absorb current surplus capacity over the next few years. Headline inflation is expected to move higher following the recent increase in the rate of GST. The subdued state of domestic demand suggests this inflation spike will have limited impact on medium-term inflation expectations.

"While it is appropriate to keep the OCR on hold today, it remains likely that further removal of monetary policy support will be required at some stage."

Media contact:
Mike Hannah
Head of Communications
Ph 04 4713671, 021 497418, [email protected]