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OCR could be on hold from now on

The Reserve Bank has lifted the Official Cash Rate to 5.5% and says interest rates need to stay higher to sustainably reduce inflation.

Wednesday, May 24th 2023, 4:07PM

by Sally Lindsay

The big surprise, says Westpac chief economist Kelly Eckhold, is the RBNZ strongly suggesting the OCR is on hold from here until at least mid-2024.

“We see some upside risks to the RBNZ’s view, but for now the OCR is on hold until July, with some potential of a 25 point rise in August.”

For the first time the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) held a vote on the OCR decision, debating between no change and a 25 point hike.

Two members voted for no change and the others for the 25 point increase.

Some members discussed potential upside risks to house prices and the economy from migration, but on balance the MPC felt sufficiently confident that a 5.5% OCR will be sufficient to balance those risks.

Eckhold says the bottom line is that this is a central bank that sees itself on hold for a protracted period.

“Key risk factors are likely to be around the RBNZ’s judgment that the quite significant boost in population growth will quickly reverse and not add to housing market or inflation pressures.”

He says data on house prices and migration will be important to watch in that regard. Similarly labour market indicators will be important to watch. 

Eckhold says the Monetary Policy Statement’s emphasis is on pipeline tightening pressures seen as sufficient to reduce inflation significantly.

“There is considerable emphasis on the pipeline of interest rate increases still to be felt by households and businesses. As a result, consumer spending and residential investment are forecast to remain weak.”

While migration pressures are acknowledged, the RBNZ takes a sanguine view on their impact on capacity pressures.

“The RBNZ’s net migration estimates imply a net 75,000 net inflow in the year to December,” says Eckhold.

This is only slightly lower than Westpac’s equivalent forecast of a net 83,000 inflow – on a working-age population basis.

Despite the upgrade, the RBNZ’s view is that this adds significantly to supply as well as demand, he says. “Migration is seen as having some supportive impact on house prices.”

The RBNZ has upgraded its view on potential higher growth but less inflation. “Implicitly, migration is adding to the economy’s capacity in tandem with demand on resources, allowing the economy to grow more strongly without adding to inflation pressures.” 

However, Government spending is not seen as a significant driver of inflation pressures. Eckhold says while the Government is adding somewhat to inflation pressures in the next year, the RBNZ’s view is that the assumed fiscal consolidation in later years will balance out those pressures.

Westpac sees the RBNZ on hold in July, but some potential of a 25 point rise in the OCR in August.

“Should this not eventuate we anticipate the RBNZ to remain on hold until after the election in October.”

By this time Eckhold expects the housing market and migration pressures will be showing up fairly strongly and require a further adjustment in the OCR to the 5.75-6% range.

Tags: OCR OCR forecasts

« BREAKING: RBNZ raises OCR by just 25 bpsOCR won’t impact the general election »

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Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
AIA - Back My Build 6.19 - - -
AIA - Go Home Loans 8.74 7.45 7.05 6.85
ANZ 8.64 7.99 7.49 7.35
ANZ Blueprint to Build 7.39 - - -
ANZ Good Energy - - - 1.00
ANZ Special - 7.39 6.89 6.75
ASB Bank 8.64 7.39 6.89 6.65
ASB Better Homes Top Up - - - 1.00
Avanti Finance 9.15 - - -
Basecorp Finance 9.60 - - -
Bluestone 9.24 - - -
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
BNZ - Classic - 7.29 6.85 6.65
BNZ - Green Home Loan top-ups - - - 1.00
BNZ - Mortgage One 8.69 - - -
BNZ - Rapid Repay 8.69 - - -
BNZ - Std, FlyBuys 8.69 ▼7.89 ▼7.45 ▼7.25
BNZ - TotalMoney 8.69 - - -
CFML Loans 9.45 - - -
China Construction Bank - 7.09 6.75 6.49
China Construction Bank Special - - - -
Co-operative Bank - First Home Special - ▼7.09 - -
Co-operative Bank - Owner Occ 8.40 ▼7.29 6.89 6.75
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
Co-operative Bank - Standard 8.40 ▼7.79 7.39 7.25
Credit Union Auckland 7.70 - - -
First Credit Union Special - 7.45 7.35 -
First Credit Union Standard 8.50 7.99 7.85 -
Heartland Bank - Online 7.99 6.69 6.45 6.19
Heartland Bank - Reverse Mortgage - - - -
Heretaunga Building Society 8.90 7.60 7.40 -
HSBC Premier 8.59 - - -
HSBC Premier LVR > 80% - - - -
HSBC Special - - - -
ICBC 7.85 7.05 6.85 6.59
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
Kainga Ora 8.64 7.79 7.59 7.29
Kainga Ora - First Home Buyer Special - - - -
Kiwibank 8.50 8.35 7.89 7.65
Kiwibank - Offset 8.50 - - -
Kiwibank Special - 7.35 6.89 6.75
Liberty 8.59 8.69 8.79 8.94
Nelson Building Society 9.00 7.90 7.39 -
Pepper Money Advantage 10.49 - - -
Pepper Money Easy 8.69 - - -
Pepper Money Essential 8.29 - - -
Resimac - LVR < 80% 8.84 8.30 7.89 7.69
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
Resimac - LVR < 90% 9.84 9.30 8.89 8.69
Resimac - Specialist Clear (Alt Doc) - - 8.99 -
Resimac - Specialist Clear (Full Doc) - - 9.49 -
SBS Bank 8.74 7.95 7.45 7.29
SBS Bank Special - 7.45 6.95 6.79
SBS Construction lending for FHB - - - -
SBS FirstHome Combo 6.19 7.05 - -
SBS FirstHome Combo - - - -
SBS Unwind reverse equity 9.95 - - -
Select Home Loans 9.24 - - -
TSB Bank 9.44 8.19 7.55 7.55
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
TSB Special 8.64 7.39 6.75 6.75
Unity 8.64 6.99 6.85 -
Unity First Home Buyer special - - 6.45 -
Wairarapa Building Society 8.60 7.15 6.85 -
Westpac 8.64 7.89 7.49 7.25
Westpac Choices Everyday 8.74 - - -
Westpac Offset 8.64 - - -
Westpac Special - 7.29 6.89 6.65
Median 8.64 7.45 7.37 6.77

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