Graeme Wheeler in his first year as New Zealand’s central bank chief pioneered the use of loan curbs to contain asset prices — eschewing higher interest rates. In his second, he’s poised to raise rates anyway.
Wheeler is spurring an evolution at the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, becoming the first governor to use lending restrictions and forming a governor’s committee to advise on decisions. To help the economy withstand a strong currency, he also made the authority’s first publicly confirmed intervention in the foreign-exchange market since 2007.
“Before Wheeler arrived, the line was these were things you would do every 20 years or so at real extremes,” said Christian Hawkesby, fixed-income head at Harbour Asset Management Ltd. in Wellington and a former Bank of England official. “He has completely flipped that on its head,” he said, referring to the measures to contain risks from a property boom.