New Zealand Inflation Accelerates, Easing Pressure on Policy

New Zealand inflation accelerated slightly in the first quarter, adding to signs the central bank may not need to cut interest rates any further.

Consumer prices rose 1.5% from a year earlier, Statistics New Zealand said Wednesday in Wellington, picking up from 1.4% in the fourth quarter and matching economists’ estimates. Prices advanced 0.8% from three months earlier, also matching forecasts.

New Zealand Inflation Accelerates, Easing Pressure on Policy

The Reserve Bank projects inflation will temporarily accelerate into the top half of its 1-3% target range through 2021, before slowing next year. Earlier this month, the central bank said it would look through that spike in prices and wouldn’t remove stimulus until it was confident of achieving its inflation and employment objectives.

The New Zealand dollar was little changed after the report. It bought 71.73 U.S. cents at 10:59 a.m. in Wellington from 71.72 cents immediately before the release.

The quarterly gain in the consumers’ price index was led by higher prices for transport and housing, the statistics agency said.

Other Details

  • Consumer prices excluding food, fuel and energy rose 2% from a year earlier. The RBNZ publishes its own core measure later Wednesday
  • Tradables prices rose 0.9% from the previous quarter, when they gained 0.2%
  • Non-tradable prices, which are less influenced by the currency, increased 0.7% from the previous quarter
  • Non-tradables prices rose 2.1% from the year-earlier quarter, easing from a 2.8% pace three months ago

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