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New Zealand’s Central Bank Leaves Benchmark Rate at Record Low on Europe

New Zealand’s central bank left interest rates at a record low as inflation slows and concern mounts that Europe’s debt crisis may stall global demand for the nation’s commodity exports.

The official cash rate was held at 2.5 percent, Reserve Bank Governor Alan Bollard said in a statement released today in Wellington.

Central bankers have been lowering rates or keeping them near all-time lows as Europe’s turmoil threatens to slow the global economic expansion. The International Monetary Fund earlier this week cut its estimate for global growth in 2012, forecasting the euro area’s economy to contract.

Thailand yesterday reduced its one-day bond repurchase rate a quarter percentage point to 3 percent, and the Philippines on Jan. 19 lowered the rate it pays lenders for overnight deposits by a quarter point to 4.25 percent. The Bank of Israel earlier this week decreased its benchmark rate a quarter point to 2.5 percent, the third reduction since late-September.

In the U.S. yesterday, Federal Reserve officials said the federal funds target rate, at zero to 0.25 percent, will likely stay low until at least late-2014.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tracy Withers in Wellington at twithers@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Brendan Murray at brmurray@bloomberg.net

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