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N.Z.’s Reserve Bank Leaves Key Interest Rate at 2.5% (Full Text)

The following is a reformatted version of a statement released on the website of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, which today left its official cash rate at a record-low 2.5 percent.

“The Reserve Bank today left the Official Cash Rate (OCR) unchanged at 2.5 percent.

The global outlook remains mixed with disappointing data in Europe and some other countries, and more positive indicators in the United States and Japan. Global financial sentiment continues to be buoyant and the medium term outlook for New Zealand’s main trading partners remains firm.

Growth in the New Zealand economy is picking up but remains uneven across sectors. Consumption is increasing and reconstruction in Canterbury continues to gather pace and will be reinforced by a broader national recovery in construction activity, particularly in Auckland. This will support aggregate activity and eventually help to ease the housing shortage.

In the meantime rapid house price inflation persists in Auckland and Canterbury. As previously noted, the Reserve Bank does not want to see financial or price stability compromised by housing demand getting too far ahead of the supply response.

Despite having fallen over the past few weeks, the New Zealand dollar remains overvalued and continues to be a headwind for the tradables sector, restricting export earnings and encouraging demand for imports. Fiscal consolidation will continue to constrain aggregate demand over the projection horizon.

Annual CPI inflation has been just below 1 percent since the September quarter of 2012, largely reflecting falling prices for tradable goods and services. While tradables inflation is likely to remain low, annual CPI inflation is expected to trend upwards through the forecast period.

Reflecting the balance of several forces, we expect annual GDP growth to accelerate to about 3.5 percent by the second half of 2014, and inflation to rise towards the midpoint of the 1 to 3 percent target band. Given this outlook, we expect to keep the OCR unchanged through the end of the year.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Heath in Sydney at mheath1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephanie Phang at sphang@bloomberg.net

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