CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand Jan 31 New Zealand
interest rates will need to rise soon to counter increasing
inflationary pressures, the central bank head said on Friday.
Reserve Bank of New Zealand Governor Graeme Wheeler said the
economy was growing faster than expected and inflation pressures
from a strong housing and building market would also pick up
over the next two years.
"In such an environment, there is a need to return interest
rates to more-normal levels and the Bank expects to begin this
adjustment soon," he said in speech notes to a business group in
The statement echoed comments on Thursday, when the RBNZ
held its benchmark cash rate steady at a record low 2.5 percent
but gave a clear hint that an increase is likely in March to
combat stronger inflation pressures.
(Reporting by Gyles Beckford in Wellington and Naomi Tajitsu in
Christchurch; Editing by Paul Tait)