New Zealand CPI inflation eases in Q3, less hiking pressure on RBNZ

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New Zealand CPI inflation eases in Q3, less hiking pressure on RBNZ
Credit: © Reuters.

Investing.com-- New Zealand consumer inflation grew less than expected in the third quarter on softer import prices, taking more pressure off the Reserve Bank to raise interest rates further this year.

Consumer price index inflation in the 12 months to September grew 5.6%, data from Statistics New Zealand showed on Tuesday. The reading was lower than expectations of 5.9% and the prior quarter reading of 6%. 

Quarter-on-quarter, CPI inflation grew 1.8%, lower than expectations of 2%, but accelerating from the 1.1% rate seen in the previous quarter. 

The readings were also lower than forecasts from the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ). But while overall inflation retreated, core inflation still remained sticky on high transport and utility costs. 

The drop in headline inflation was largely driven by softer import prices and easing supply chain issues in New Zealand’s main trading partners. 

The RBNZ only expects inflation to come within its 2% annual target range by mid-2025. But the central bank has kept its rates on hold since May, citing the need for a balance between curbing inflation and avoiding more economic headwinds. 

Easing inflation gives the RBNZ more impetus to keep rates on hold, with analysts also expecting the bank to hold rates until at least next year. 

“The chance of a further rate hike from the RBNZ in November is less likely. The extent to which core inflation pressures continue to ease rapidly in the December quarter and beyond will be critical in determining the likelihood and timing of rate increases next year. The persistence in domestic price pressures means the RBNZ won't be contemplating cuts any time soon,” analysts at Westpac wrote in a note. 

New Zealand economic growth had worsened substantially this year, with the country entering a technical recession as it grappled with high inflation and interest rates. But some easing headwinds saw the country spring back into growth in the second quarter. 

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