The New Zealand dollar has extended its rally on Wednesday. In the European session, NZD/USD is trading at 0.6181, up 0.47%.
RBNZ delivers record hike
The Reserve Bank of New Zealand pushed the rate pedal to the floor today, with a supersize rate hike of 75 basis points, a record high. This raised the cash rate to 4.25%, up from 3.5% and the highest level since 2008. The move was widely expected, but nonetheless, it sent bond yields and the New Zealand dollar higher.
The RBNZ is forecasting that the cash rate will peak at 5.5% in 2023, which means there’s plenty of life left in the current rate-tightening cycle, with the RBNZ currently boasting the highest cash rates among the major central banks. The bank has designated inflation as public enemy number one, but despite a series of oversize hikes, there are no signs that inflation has peaked. In the third quarter, CPI was almost unchanged in Q3, nudging lower to 7.2%, following a 7.3% gain in Q2. This figure caught the RBNZ off guard, as the bank projected that CPI in Q3 would slow to 6.4%. The Monetary Policy Statement was decidedly hawkish, noting that “core consumer price inflation is too high” and “near-term inflation expectations have risen.”
How will New Zealand’s economy fare after the latest rate hike? The labour market remains tight, with unemployment at a near-record low of 3.3%, and the economy has recovered impressively from the Covid pandemic. Still, the RBNZ statement forecasted that the economy will tip into recession in June 2023 and that inflation would accelerate to 7.5% in the fourth quarter and would not fall back to the midpoint of the 1%-3% target until 2025. The RBNZ has taken off the gloves, but the prolonged battle against inflation will not end anytime soon.
The US will release the FOMC minutes later today, which could impact on the movement of NZD/USD. Investors will be looking for hints about what the Fed has planned at the December 12th meeting. The markets have priced in a 50-basis point hike, although there is an outside chance of a 75 bp increase.
- There is resistance at 0.6217 and 06283
- 0.6139 is providing support, followed by 0.6095, a monthly support line