New Zealand’s annual inflation rate accelerated in the fourth quarter, spurring bets the Reserve Bank will raise interest rates as early as this month.
Consumer prices rose 1.6 percent from the year-earlier quarter, the fastest annual pace since early 2012, Statistics New Zealand said in Wellington today. Prices gained 0.1 percent from the third quarter. Economists expected annual inflation of 1.5 percent and a quarterly drop of 0.1 percent, according to the median of forecasts in a Bloomberg survey.
Faster inflation, rising business confidence and soaring house prices increase the likelihood Reserve Bank of New Zealand Governor Graeme Wheeler will raise the official cash rate from a record-low 2.5 percent at the next review on Jan. 30, ANZ Bank New Zealand Ltd. said. The rate has been unchanged since March 2011. New Zealand’s currency gained.