The New Zealand dollar rallied broadly on the FX market after the Reserve Bank of New Zealand raised interest rates this morning in what was an aggressive move for the central bank.
The Reserve Bank of New Zealand lifted the official cash rate during its April meeting by 50 basis points to 5.25%, the highest since December 2008.
Wednesday’s move was the 11th straight rise, defying market expectations of a 25bps hike as the board maintained its pace of tightening, amid consumer inflation that was still persistently high and employment beyond its maximum sustainable level.
The central bank noted economic activity over Q4 of 2022 was lower than anticipated, but demand continues to outpace supply capacity, particularly following the recent weather events.
Going forward, the RBNZ is expecting to see a continued easing in domestic demand and a slowdown in core inflation and inflation expectations. The extent of this moderation will determine the direction of future monetary policy.
The board viewed that there is no material conflict between lowering inflation and maintaining financial stability in New Zealand. The decision brought a total of 500 basis points increases since October 2021.
ANZ Bank have been out upping their rate forecast this morning. So have other antipodean banks. ANZ said “The RBNZ today raised the OCR by 50bp to 5.25% today, defying market and analyst expectations for a smaller 25bp hike”.
On the forecasts for rates they said “We continue to expect a 25bp hike at the May Monetary Policy Statement, and accordingly have revised up our forecast peak for the OCR to 5.50%.” and “The RBNZ and the RBA (who paused yesterday) continue to choose startlingly different paths in the face of very similar inflation numbers.”
Kiwi Bank said “The RBNZ delivered an outsized hike of 50bps today, a step above the 25bp expected by the market and consensus of economists. And it was all to do with wholesale rates. They had fallen too far for the RBNZ”.
They add “The RBNZ is determined to lower inflation, whatever the cost. And today’s supersized hike reflected the RBNZ’s resolve. Demand, they say, continues to outstrip supply, causing inflation.”
Kiwi bank note. “The RBNZ is delivering on its ‘pre-set’ path first outlined in November. They want to put the cash rate at 5.5%. We must expect a 25bp move to 5.5% in May.”