WELLINGTON Jan 30 The New Zealand central bank
held its benchmark cash rate steady at a record low 2.5 percent
on Thursday, as expected, but said higher rates are likely in
the near future to counter stronger inflation pressures from the
housing and building sectors.
The Reserve Bank of New Zealand's (RBNZ) decision had been
seen as finely balanced after stronger-than-expected fourth
quarter inflation data published last week raised expectations
of a pre-emptive rise.
For the text of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand's (RBNZ)
latest statement click on.
Three of 17 analysts in a Reuters poll expected a 25 basis
point rise, with 12 looking at a March rise, and two for a
second quarter hike.
Financial market pricing before Thursday's decision implied
a 34 percent chance of a 25 basis points rate hike, and 124
basis points of rises over the next 12 months.
The official cash rate has been held at since an emergency
50 basis point cut in March 2011 after an earthquake badly
damaged the second biggest city Christchurch.
New Zealand's official rate compares with Australia's 2.50
percent, the U.S. Federal Reserve's 0.0/0.25 percent, the
European Central Bank's 0.25 percent, and the Bank of Japan's