Reserve Bank raises OCR to 7.75 percent
Recent indicators confirm that the resurgence in economic activity that began in late 2006 has continued over recent months, with domestic demand continuing to expand strongly. As we noted in March, demand is being fuelled by a buoyant housing market, increases in government expenditure, a rising terms of trade, ongoing net immigration, and a robust labour market.
The lift in domestic demand is placing further pressure on already-stretched productive resources. Firms report that capacity is very stretched and that they are again experiencing increased difficulty in finding both skilled and unskilled staff. Consistent with these pressures, non-tradables inflation has remained persistently strong and has recently shown signs of re-acceleration.
The trade-weighted exchange rate has risen further, which will exert some downward pressure on medium-term inflation. The exchange rate is now at levels that are both exceptional by historical standards, and unjustified on the basis of medium-term fundamentals. Parts of the export sector continue to face challenging conditions, but the recent sharp lift in world dairy prices is expected to provide a boost to incomes in that sector and tourist arrivals are continuing to grow.
There has already been a recent rise in fixed mortgage interest rates. This further increase in the OCR is aimed at ensuring that inflation outcomes remain consistent with achieving the target of 1 to 3 percent inflation on average over the medium term.
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