New Zealand Inflation Slows Less Than Forecast, Kiwi Jumps

  • Kiwi dollar jumps half U.S. cent as traders trim rate-cut bets
  • Data won’t dissuade RBNZ from cutting rates in November: ASB

New Zealand inflation slowed less than economists forecast in the third quarter, prompting the local dollar to jump.

Key Points

  • Consumers price index rose 0.2 percent from a year earlier
  • Inflation exceeded the 0.1 percent median forecast of 17 economists and matched the August forecast by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand
  • Annual inflation slowed from 0.4 percent in the second quarter
  • Prices rose 0.2 percent from the second quarter; economists expected no change
  • Kiwi climbs as high as 71.85 U.S. cents in Wellington from 71.39 cents

Big Picture

Annual inflation has been below the bottom of the RBNZ’s 1-3 percent target band for eight straight quarters. Economists expect Governor Graeme Wheeler to cut the official cash rate to a record-low 1.75 percent at the next review on Nov. 10, even amid an overheated housing market and economic growth that’s among the developed world’s fastest. Futures Tuesday are pricing an 80 percent chance of a rate cut next month, down from 84 percent Monday. Some economists said the inflation data may weaken the case for rate reductions beyond November.

Economist Takeaways

“Is the miss here enough to sideline the RBNZ in November? We doubt it,” said Phil Odonaghoe, an economist at Deutsche Bank AG in Sydney.

Nick Tuffley, chief economist at ASB Bank in Auckland, also continues to expect a November cut and sees the risk of another in early 2017, though “this CPI outcome does not add to the case for such a move.”

Other Details

  • Tradables prices, which are influenced by currency movements and global markets, were unchanged from the second quarter
  • From a year earlier, tradables prices fell 2.1 percent
  • Non-tradable inflation, a core measure of prices not influenced by the currency, was 0.3 percent in the quarter, led by housing-related costs and higher domestic airfares
  • From a year earlier, non-tradables prices gained 2.1 percent 

— With assistance by Kimberley Painter

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