Well we have had an action packed quarter haven’t we – bad employment numbers, bad retail numbers, bad inflation numbers, and tax cuts.
Of course I’ve stated that all these things imply more inflation, but its not what I think thats important – its what the Reserve Bank thinks that matters. On June 5th we get to here what there outlook for economic activity really is – and as a result we will get an idea about how their view of future monetary policy easing has changed (from September 2009 as a starting point in March).
So what is going to happen? The Reserve Bank will heavily reduce their growth forecasts (I’m guessing 0.9% growth over the March 2009 year – with a technical recession over the first half of 2008). A weaker labour market outlook and a downturn in global growth forecasts will be major factors behind this shift – along with a sharper housing market correction. The delay of the ETS will lighten up inflation forecasts while additional fiscal stimulus will lift it again – fundamentally inflation will cross 4% in September, but head under 3% by June.
It is possible they may state that fiscal policy changes (ETS and tax cuts) cancel out – especially given that most of the tax cuts appear out in 2010 – and approximately 50% of consumers are supposed to act in a manner that is “liquidity constrained” (so will not borrow on the tax cuts which are coming).
With inflation expectations elevated and the dollar threatening to bolt with three months of potential rate cuts the Reserve Bank will probably implicitly time rate cuts from March 2009 in the MPS – however with some (real) risk of cuts occurring earlier.
Personally, I think inflation pressures are far more endemic – but I believe that the Bank believes that the risks to growth are too strong to ignore. If this is the way things go down I would expect a short rally in the dollar – before the realisation that the RBNZ was just treading water sets in, dragging the dollar back to where it started.