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Expection OCR will be left unchanged

Economists expect Reserve Bank governor Alan Bollard will hold rates steady this week despite evidence the economy remains surprisingly strong.

Monday, December 4th 2006, 8:07AM

Bollard's official cash rate (OCR), which has a direct bearing on floating mortgage rates and a lesser impact on fixed-rate home loans, currently stands at 7.25%.

Craig Ebert, an economist at Bank of New Zealand, says the central bank is under a bit of pressure. "Even though most of the data has been pressing on the strong side, it hasn't been substantive," he says.

While he doesn't expect Bollard to move rates, he expects the wording of the press release accompanying the monetary policy statement will be hawkish. "There should be a clear message that the data's going to remain very important" and that, if it continues to be strong, another rate hike is on the cards.

Cameron Bagrie, chief economist at ANZ/National Bank, says the big decline in petrol prices recently means the annual inflation rate, 3.5% at the end of September, is likely to head back below 3%. Bollard is pledged to keep inflation between zero and 3% over the medium term.

"The Reserve Bank is going to take a little bit of comfort from that but I don't think that's the end of the inflation story. But it's hard to raise rates when inflation's coming down," Bagrie says.

Another reason for not raising rates is that the currency is currently very strong at nearly 69 US cents compared to around 60 cents back in July, although it is stable against other major currencies.

"If they hike at this point, that will push it through 70 (US cents)," he says.

Nick Tuffley, an economist at Westpac, says the Reserve Bank's spotlight is again likely to focus on the strength of the housing market and signs it could be strengthening further.

Tuffley doesn't think it will. "The housing market and household finances are stretched and logic dictates there is only so long that either can remain aloft."

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Mortgage Rates Table

Full Rates Table | Compare Rates

Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
AIA 4.55 ▼2.29 ▼2.59 ▼2.65
ANZ 4.44 2.89 3.25 3.39
ANZ Special - 2.29 2.69 2.79
ASB Bank 4.45 2.29 2.59 2.65
Bluestone 3.49 3.34 2.99 3.34
BNZ - Classic - 2.29 2.59 2.79
BNZ - Mortgage One 5.15 - - -
BNZ - Rapid Repay 4.60 - - -
BNZ - Std, FlyBuys 4.55 2.89 3.19 3.39
BNZ - TotalMoney 4.55 - - -
CFML Loans 4.95 - - -
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
China Construction Bank 4.49 4.70 4.80 4.95
China Construction Bank Special - 2.65 2.65 2.80
Credit Union Auckland 5.45 - - -
Credit Union Baywide 5.65 3.95 3.85 -
Credit Union South 5.65 3.95 3.85 -
First Credit Union Special 5.85 2.95 3.45 -
Heartland Bank - Online 2.50 1.99 2.35 2.45
Heretaunga Building Society 4.99 3.50 3.40 -
HSBC Premier 4.49 2.25 2.35 2.65
HSBC Premier LVR > 80% - - - -
HSBC Special - 1.99 - -
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
ICBC 3.69 2.25 2.35 2.65
Kainga Ora 4.43 2.79 3.04 3.13
Kainga Ora - First Home Buyer Special - 2.25 - -
Kiwibank 3.40 3.20 3.50 3.50
Kiwibank - Offset 3.40 - - -
Kiwibank Special 3.40 2.35 2.65 2.65
Liberty 5.69 - - -
Nelson Building Society 4.95 3.20 3.24 -
Pepper Essential 4.79 - - -
Resimac 3.39 3.35 2.99 3.35
SBS Bank 4.54 2.79 2.79 3.15
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
SBS Bank Special - 2.29 2.29 2.65
Select Home Loans 3.49 3.34 2.99 3.34
The Co-operative Bank - First Home Special - 2.09 - -
The Co-operative Bank - Owner Occ 4.40 2.29 2.59 2.79
The Co-operative Bank - Standard 4.40 2.79 3.09 3.29
TSB Bank 5.34 3.09 3.29 3.45
TSB Special 4.54 2.29 2.49 2.65
Wairarapa Building Society 4.99 3.55 3.49 -
Westpac 4.59 3.09 3.29 3.39
Westpac - Offset 4.59 - - -
Westpac Special - 2.29 2.69 2.79
Median 4.55 2.79 2.99 2.80

Last updated: 26 February 2021 11:27am

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