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New Zealand Monetary Policy October 2023

New Zealand: RBNZ stands pat in October

At its 4 October meeting, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) left the official cash rate (OCR) unchanged at 5.50%.

The Bank decided to stand pat as it deemed that previous monetary policy tightening was already cooling demand dynamics and, therefore, inflationary pressures. That said, the RBNZ warned that “there is a near-term risk that activity and inflation do not slow as much as needed”.

Looking forward, the Bank stated that “the OCR needs to stay at a restrictive level to ensure that annual consumer price inflation returns to the 1 to 3% target range and to support maximum sustainable employment”. Most of our panelists see rates unchanged through end-2023, though a few see one 25 basis point hike. Next year, the vast majority of panelists expect rate cuts.

The next monetary policy meeting is scheduled for 29 November.

On the outlook, Goldman Sachs’ analysts said: “Looking ahead, our base case is the RBNZ will remain on hold at 5.5% going forward as inflation trends lower, before starting a gradual easing cycle in November 2024.” In contrast, ANZ analysts were more hawkish: “Relative to the August MPS, the signal was on the hawkish side, with the Committee agreeing that interest rates may need to remain at a restrictive level for a more sustained period of time. We continue to pencil in a 25bp hike in November.”

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