New Zealand GDP surprises on the upside
New Zealand posted a stronger-than-expected GDP report for Q2. The economy climbed 1.7%, reversing the 0.2% decline in the first quarter. The upswing in growth was driven by the government’s easing of Covid restrictions. The GDP gain removed any fears of a technical recession, which is defined as two consecutive quarters of negative growth. The New Zealand dollar is almost unchanged on the day, trading at the 0.6000 line.
Now that New Zealand’s economy is flexing its muscles, what does that mean for the Reserve Bank of New Zealand? The central bank was almost spot on with its GDP forecast at the August meeting, predicting a gain of 1.8%. At the meeting, the Bank projected that the cash rate would peak at 4.1% in mid-2023. Today’s GDP report is not expected to change that stance, with the Bank likely to raise rates by 50bp in the October and November meetings, which would bring the cash rate to an even 4.0%.
The Reserve Bank has its hands full with hot inflation, but is relief on the way? The Bank’s steep rate-tightening cycle is expected to slow inflation, which is running at 7.3%. In August, the Bank projected that inflation would fall to 6.4%. Higher interest rates will, sooner or later, bring down inflation, but of course, that is not the whole story. As borrowing and mortgage rates rise, domestic demand will fall, and this trend cannot be halted at the switch of a button. In other words, the effects of a tighter policy will be felt long after the Reserve Bank ends its rate hikes – perhaps the central bank’s biggest challenge is to guide the economy to a soft landing as it grapples with high inflation.
- NZD/USD is testing resistance at 0.6017. Next, there is resistance at 0.6085
- There is support at 0.5929 and 0.5861
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