Statement by Reserve Bank Governor Graeme Wheeler:
The Reserve Bank today left the Official Cash Rate (OCR) unchanged at 1.75 percent.
Global economic growth has increased and become more broad-based. However, major challenges remain with on-going surplus capacity and extensive political uncertainty.
Headline inflation has increased over the past year in several countries, but moderated recently with the fall in energy prices. Core inflation and long-term bond yields remain low. Monetary policy is expected to remain stimulatory in the advanced economies, but less so going forward.
The trade-weighted exchange rate has increased by around 3 percent since May, partly in response to higher export prices. A lower New Zealand dollar would help rebalance the growth outlook towards the tradables sector.
GDP growth in the March quarter was lower than expected, with weaker export volumes and residential construction partially offset by stronger consumption. Nevertheless, the growth outlook remains positive, supported by accommodative monetary policy, strong population growth, and high terms of trade. Recent changes announced in Budget 2017 should support the outlook for growth.
House price inflation has moderated further, especially in Auckland. The slowdown in house price inflation partly reflects loan-to-value ratio restrictions, and tighter lending conditions. This moderation is projected to continue, although there is a risk of resurgence given the on-going imbalance between supply and demand.
The increase in headline inflation in the March quarter was mainly due to higher tradables inflation, particularly petrol and food prices. These effects are temporary and may lead to some variability in headline inflation. Non-tradables and wage inflation remain moderate but are expected to increase gradually. This will bring future headline inflation to the midpoint of the target band over the medium term. Longer-term inflation expectations remain well-anchored at around 2 percent.
Monetary policy will remain accommodative for a considerable period. Numerous uncertainties remain and policy may need to adjust accordingly.
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