Oct 23, 2008

OCR: Down to 6.5%

The Reserve Bank has, as expected announced a cut of 100 points.

Here is the statement

Date 23 October 2008
Time Embargoed until: 9:00am

OCR reduced to 6.5 percent

The Reserve Bank today reduced the Official Cash Rate (OCR) from 7.5 percent to 6.5 percent.

Reserve Bank Governor Alan Bollard commented that "ongoing financial market turmoil and a deteriorating outlook for global growth have played a large role in shaping today's decision.

"Economic activity in New Zealand will be further constrained, relative to the outlook presented in our September Monetary Policy Statement, by these international developments. New Zealand can expect to face lower demand for exports and credit is likely to be less readily available. In this environment consumers and businesses are likely to be more cautious and curtail spending.

"The reduction in domestic spending will be partly offset by the depreciation of the New Zealand dollar over the past few months, falling oil prices and the recent loosening of fiscal policy.

"With weaker short-term growth and sharply lower oil prices we now expect that annual CPI inflation will return to the target band of 1 to
3 percent around the middle of 2009. However, we still have concerns that domestically generated inflation (particularly in labour costs, local body rates, electricity prices and construction costs) is remaining stubbornly high.

"Consistent with the Policy Targets Agreement, the Bank's focus will remain on medium-term inflation. Should the outlook for inflation evolve as projected we would expect to lower the OCR further. However, the timing and extent of OCR reductions over the coming months will depend on evidence of actual reductions in domestic cost pressures as well as how the global financial developments play out."