Official Cash Rate cut to 1.5 percent

Author
Newstalk ZB ,
Section
Business,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 8 May 2019, 2:02PM
It is a record low for the OCR. (Photo / Getty)
It is a record low for the OCR. (Photo / Getty)

The Reserve Bank has cut the Offical Cash Rate to a record low 1.5 per cent and signaled further cuts will follow.

The RBNZ cut the rate from 1.75 per cent at 2pm. The kiwi dollar dropped half a cent on the news to US65.55c

"The Monetary Policy Committee decided a lower OCR is necessary to support the outlook for employment and inflation consistent with its policy remit," the newly minted committee - which includes three external members - said in the statement.

Changes to the central bank's forecasts in the latest monetary policy statement now show a chance for another cut by March. The OCR track goes from 1.8 per cent to 1.4 per cent in March 2020. The bank's prior forecast in February had indicated the first move wasn't anticipated until the first half of 2021, and that that move would have been up.

In March, however, governor Adrian Orr surprised markets when he said that, given the weaker global economic outlook and reduced momentum in domestic spending, the more likely direction of the next official cash rate move was down.

Markets had been unsure of whether or not the central bank would cut rates today as the global economy has been more positive, with both the US Federal Reserve and the Reserve Bank of Australia holding benchmark rates this week. On the flip side, headline inflation remains below the 2 per cent mid-point of the central bank's target range and economic growth has been tepid.

Market pricing had pointed to a 50 per cent chance of a 25 basis-point cut to 1.5 per cent today. The median estimate in a Bloomberg poll of 17 economists was for a 25 basis-point rate cut to 1.5 per cent, although many said they were on the fence.

 

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