July 09 OCR Review: Easing bias strengthens?

At least that is my first impression from the statements.

Although last statement was the effectively the same:

“We consider it appropriate to continue to provide substantial monetary policy stimulus to the economy. The OCR could still move modestly lower over the coming quarters. We continue to expect to keep the OCR at or below the current level through until the latter part of 2010.”

However, the differences are interesting.  In June the RBNZ said:

We have cut the OCR by a large amount over the year. We expect the effects to pass through to more borrowers over coming quarters as existing fixed-rate mortgages come up for re-pricing.

They told us they had cut a long way – this is “anti-easing”.  In July they said two things:

The level of the dollar in particular, is not helping the sustainability of future growth, and brings with it additional economic risks

The forecast recovery is based on a further easing in financial conditions. If this easing does not occur, the forecast recovery could be put at risk. In these circumstances we would reassess policy settings

So they think monetary conditions are too tight (exchange rate and interest rates) implying that they may respond with a lower OCR in order to loosen conditions.

Note that the market was expecting the easing bias to go away, and they expected the sudden improvement in the housing market to be mentioned as a risk – but they were not.

Now if the RBNZ is really worried about the “sustainability of future growth” I don’t think a rate cut is appropriate.  Why when it makes the $NZ lower?  Well because it does that through lower interest rates, which makes consumption now more attractive than investment – the exact imbalance they seem to have been concerned about recently.

5 replies
  1. Miguel Sanchez
    Miguel Sanchez says:

    If the $NZ is that much of a threat, why aren’t they intervening to sell it?

  2. Matt Nolan
    Matt Nolan says:

    @Miguel Sanchez

    Well maybe they are – they might be better at hiding it now.

    Then again, if they are I’d be pretty annoyed. It is unlikely they will make the same juicy capital gains this time.

  3. Miguel Sanchez
    Miguel Sanchez says:

    Getting a bit too Zen for my tastes – “if a central bank intervenes in the currency and no-one sees it, does it make a damn bit of difference?”

  4. Çilingir
    Çilingir says:

    Then again, if they are I’d be pretty annoyed. It is unlikely they will make the same juicy capital gains this time.

  5. Matt Nolan
    Matt Nolan says:

    @Miguel Sanchez

    Well given that the level of the currency impacts on expectations I would guess so 🙂

    I think the Zen quote would be: If the RBNZ intervened in a currency market that no-one traded on would it make a difference 😀

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