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Hawkish talk foreshadows rate rises

Tightening talk is coming from central banks around the world – although not New Zealand’s – and that means more interest rate movement is on the cards.

Wednesday, July 5th 2017, 3:36PM

by Miriam Bell

It was not long ago that banks were announcing interest rate changes frequently, if not daily. But, of late, that had changed.

Until this week when, for the first time in a while, several banks announced rate movements.

ANZ increased its one year standard and special rates by 10 basis points while BNZ upped its two year classic rate slightly.

Conversely, Kiwibank dropped its one year special rate by 24 basis points.

At the same time, New Zealand’s 10 and two year swap rates have both risen to multi-month highs.

This burst of movement comes on the back of tightening rhetoric from central banks around the world.

The US Federal Reserve recently lifted interest rates for the third consecutive quarter, while talk from the Bank of England and the Bank of Canada indicates rates are likely to tighten sooner rather than later.

ANZ economists have said that as collective central bank rhetoric becomes more hawkish, a strong message that the extremely low interest rate and QE era is coming to an end is emerging.

To date, New Zealand’s Reserve Bank, like Australia’s, has been out of step with this and has indicated that the OCR is likely to stay on hold at 1.75% for some time.

In fact, the Reserve Bank’s official projections don’t anticipate any rise in the OCR until late 2019 or early 2020.

But speculation that the Reserve Bank may have to move sooner and lift the OCR next year has been gathering pace.

If other central banks do start moving in the way they have suggested, economists believe it will make it easier for the Reserve Bank to also do so.

For New Zealanders this is likely to result in some interest rate movement – although significant rises are not anticipated.

ASB economist Kim Mundy said that while the OCR has remained at record lows, domestic banks’ funding environments remain constrained.

“As a result, the practice of attracting deposits through higher term deposit rates is continuing, keeping a floor under mortgage rates."

There are a number of opposing forces impacting interest rates at the moment, she said.

“But, overall, mortgage rates remain low relative to historical averages, with ‘specials’ even lower for most term rates.”

ASB expects the Reserve Bank to leave the OCR on hold until late 2018, Mundy said.

“Given this is one factor influencing floating and shorter-term fixed mortgage rates, we are not likely to see the floating mortgage rate and short-term fixed rates decline any further this year.

“Further, higher funding costs could see further (but modest) upward pressure on shorter-term interest rates.”

For BNZ senior strategy analyst Jason Wong, expectations of unchanged monetary policy for some time mean floating rates and short-dated fixed rates should remain fairly flat through the rest of the year.

He said that a slight upward bias prevails due to upward pressure on bank funding costs.

“Next year, the possibility of higher wholesale rates increases as the first expected policy tightening by the Reserve Bank approaches.”

The key message is that borrowers can expect a historically low OCR to help keep floating borrowing rates well contained through 2017, but upside risk prevails through 2018, Wong said.

Read more:

Game of watch and wait for OCR 

Tags: ANZ ASB banks BNZ interest rates Kiwibank Mortgage Rates OCR RBNZ Reserve Bank risk

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Mortgage Rates Table

Full Rates Table | Compare Rates

Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
ANZ 5.19 4.05 3.95 4.49
ANZ Special - 3.55 3.45 3.99
ASB Bank 5.20 4.05 3.95 4.39
ASB Bank Special - 3.55 3.45 3.89
BNZ - Classic - 3.55 3.45 3.99
BNZ - Mortgage One 5.90 - - -
BNZ - Rapid Repay 5.35 - - -
BNZ - Std, FlyBuys 5.30 4.45 4.35 4.55
BNZ - TotalMoney 5.30 - - -
China Construction Bank 5.50 4.70 4.80 4.95
China Construction Bank Special - 3.19 3.19 3.19
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
Credit Union Auckland 5.95 - - -
Credit Union Baywide 6.15 4.95 4.95 -
Credit Union North 6.45 - - -
Credit Union South 6.45 - - -
Finance Direct - - - -
First Credit Union 5.85 3.99 4.49 -
Heartland 6.70 7.00 7.25 7.85
Heartland Bank - Online - - - -
Heretaunga Building Society 5.75 4.80 4.95 -
HSBC Premier 5.24 3.35 3.35 3.35
HSBC Premier LVR > 80% - - - -
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
HSBC Special - - - -
ICBC 5.15 3.18 3.18 3.20
Kainga Ora 5.18 4.04 3.95 4.39
Kiwibank 5.80 4.30 4.20 4.64
Kiwibank - Capped - - - -
Kiwibank - Offset 5.15 - - -
Kiwibank Special - 3.55 3.45 3.89
Liberty 5.69 - - -
Napier Building Society - - - -
Nelson Building Society 5.70 4.25 4.15 -
Pepper Money Near Prime 5.64 - 5.44 5.44
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
Pepper Money Prime - - - -
Pepper Money Specialist 7.59 - 7.39 7.39
Resimac 4.50 4.86 3.89 3.94
RESIMAC Special - - - -
SBS Bank 5.29 4.85 5.05 5.49
SBS Bank Special - ▼3.55 3.39 3.89
Sovereign 5.30 4.15 4.29 4.55
Sovereign Special - 3.65 3.75 4.05
The Co-operative Bank - Owner Occ 5.15 3.49 3.59 3.89
The Co-operative Bank - Standard 5.15 3.99 4.09 4.39
TSB Bank 6.09 4.35 4.25 4.69
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
TSB Special 5.29 3.55 3.45 3.89
Wairarapa Building Society 5.70 4.85 4.99 -
Westpac 5.34 4.15 4.09 4.49
Westpac - Offset 5.34 - - -
Westpac Special - 3.55 3.45 3.99
Median 5.35 4.04 4.02 4.39

Last updated: 11 November 2019 4:01pm

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