The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) has raised its official cash rate (OCR) from 4.75 percent to 5.5 percent in a surprise move that took markets by surprise.
The move is a reaction to improved economic growth, rising inflation and strong employment figures. In its statement, the RBNZ said the latest data showed the New Zealand economy had “continued to strengthen”, despite a recent dip in global economic growth.
However, the RBNZ also signalled that it could soon lower the rate again, citing the potential impact of an ‘external shock’ to the domestic economy, such as a slowdown in global trade or an aggressive tightening of monetary policy overseas.
As such, the RBNZ has taken a more cautious approach in its latest move, suggesting that the current OCR level might only be temporary. This approach is in contrast to the last OCR decision in August, when the RBNZ raised the OCR to 5.25 percent and indicated that further increases were likely.
Overall, the RBNZ’s latest decision shows that it is carefully watching the global economic environment and is ready to act to ensure that New Zealand’s economic conditions remain stable.