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Economists revise OCR outlook

Leading economists have revised their predictions for the official cash rate next year, predicting less action from the Reserve Bank in the next 12 months.

Monday, December 16th 2019, 4:19PM

Westpac's Dominick Stephens no longer expects an OCR cut in February or at any point in the first half of 2020, amid positive signs from the economy and housing market. 

"The New Zealand economy and housing market have lived up to our more constructive forecasts and then some," Stephens said.

The bank expects conditions to deteriorate through 2020, forcing the RBNZ to cut the OCR to 0.75% in August. 

"Our OCR forecast strikes a balance within a spectrum of possibilities. We could easily envisage the OCR remaining at 1% all year or falling to 0.5%, depending on the data," the Westpac economist said.

Kiwibank economists agree. The bank now expects a cut in August, amid a "little brighter" outlook for NZ GDP and the housing market.

BNZ economists say the "fundamental case for OCR cuts has diminished significantly" over the past few months. 

"NZ business confidence has shown signs of bottoming, the housing market is experiencing an upturn, the RBNZ will need to take account of the government’s spending plans," BNZ economists, including Stephen Toplis, said.

ASB economists still expect a May OCR cut, but admit "the risk is clearly rising that the RBNZ is done". 

In their latest report, ASB said it expects the OCR to remain at 0.75% from May next year until 2022, when "gradual hikes" are likely to occur. 

ANZ economists also expect a cut in May. They expect "there's still a bit more work for the RBNZ to do to support employment and inflation expectations".

The economists say domestic inflation figures could tip the balance for the Reserve Bank next year. 

"If downside global risks don’t materialise, we’re expecting that by May the RBNZ will realise that inflation is still not heading sustainably up to the 2% target midpoint, and to cut the OCR once more. But it remains a story of growth just not quite delivering what the RBNZ needs to be confident of hitting its inflation target, not a tale of woe and despair."

Tags: ANZ ASB OCR OCR forecasts RBNZ Reserve Bank Westpac

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Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
AIA 4.55 2.55 2.95 3.29
ANZ 4.44 3.10 3.50 3.84
ANZ Blueprint to Build 1.68 - - -
ANZ Special - 2.50 2.90 3.24
ASB Back My Build 1.79 - - -
ASB Bank 4.45 2.55 2.95 3.29
Basecorp Finance 5.49 - - -
Bluestone 3.49 3.34 2.99 3.34
BNZ - Classic - 2.55 2.95 3.25
BNZ - Mortgage One 5.15 - - -
BNZ - Rapid Repay 4.60 - - -
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
BNZ - Std, FlyBuys 4.55 3.15 3.22 3.85
BNZ - TotalMoney 4.55 - - -
CFML Loans 4.95 - - -
China Construction Bank 4.49 4.70 4.80 4.95
China Construction Bank Special - 2.65 2.65 2.80
Credit Union Auckland 5.95 - - -
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 1.95 1.85 2.35 2.45
Heretaunga Building Society 4.99 3.80 3.90 -
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
HSBC Premier 4.49 2.19 2.45 2.69
HSBC Premier LVR > 80% - - - -
HSBC Special - 2.25 - -
ICBC 3.69 ▲2.29 ▲2.69 ▲2.99
Kainga Ora 4.43 2.67 2.97 3.13
Kainga Ora - First Home Buyer Special - 2.25 - -
Kiwibank 3.75 3.34 3.34 4.14
Kiwibank - Offset 3.75 - - -
Kiwibank Special 3.75 2.49 2.49 3.29
Liberty 5.69 - - -
Nelson Building Society 4.95 2.99 3.24 -
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
Pepper Essential 4.79 - - -
Resimac 3.39 2.98 2.79 3.29
SBS Bank 4.54 ▲2.89 ▲3.29 ▲3.49
SBS Bank Special - ▲2.39 ▲2.79 ▲2.99
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The Co-operative Bank - Owner Occ 4.40 2.49 2.89 3.19
The Co-operative Bank - Standard 4.40 2.99 3.39 3.69
TSB Bank 5.34 3.30 3.69 4.04
TSB Special 4.54 2.50 2.89 3.24
Wairarapa Building Society 4.99 3.55 3.49 -
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Westpac 4.59 3.15 3.49 3.89
Westpac - Offset 4.59 - - -
Westpac Special - 2.55 2.89 3.29
Median 4.54 2.78 2.99 3.29

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