Reserve Bank of New Zealand Rate Decision Preview: The Federal Reserve pause may be infectious

  • RBNZ expected to cut the official cash rate to 0.75%, a record low
  • Weak inflation and expectations could prompt cut
  • Slowing economy, rising unemployment, lower New Zealand Dollar additional factors

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) will announce its decision on the official cash rate at 1:00 GMT Wednesday November 13th, 20:00 EST on Tuesday November 12th.


The RBNZ is predicted to reduce the official cash rate by 25 basis points to 0.75%. If completed it would be the third cut this year and bring the reductions to 1.0% since the bank began in May.

RBNZ balancing inflation and growth and economic stabilization

New Zealand’s central bank may take its main interest rate to new low but the case for reductions is less clear than it was six months ago when it began this rate cycle.

Economists in the Reuters Survey expect the RBNZ to cut the official cash rate by 0.25% on Wednesday to 0.75% a record low for modern New Zealand. The futures markets was pricing a 76% chance for a reduction on Monday, up from 60% earlier.

RBNZ Official Cash Rate


The RBNZ has been the most aggressive of the central banks reducing rates this year. It was the first to take steps to combat what it saw as weak inflation and slowing global and domestic growth.  Governor Adrian Orr started with a 0.25% decrease in May, followed by a 0.5% cut in August.

At the last decision the bank’s economic review stated that there was room for further stimulus “if necessary” but developments since have somewhat undermined the case for another 0.25% cut.

Consumer Price Index

Consumer prices in the third quarter rose at a 1.5% annual rate, slightly better than the 1.4% expectation though down from the second quarter’s 1.7% rate. Inflation has been stable this year averaging 1.57% through the third quarter with a range of 1.5% to 1.7%. 



From 2015 through 2018 the range was much wider, extending from 0.1% in the first quarter of 2015 and again in the fourth quarter of 2016 to 2.2% in the first three months of 2017 followed by a dip to 1.1% in the first quarter of 2018.  The relative stability this year may be something the bank is reluctant to disturb.

Inflation expectations however in the fourth quarter dropped to 1.8% their lowest in three years, missing the 1.86% forecast and they have fallen from 2.11% in the first quarter of 2018.

Inflation Expectations


Unemployment, GDP and business confidence

Unemployment climbed to 4.2% in the third quarter from 3.9% in the prior three months. But as the last quarter had the lowest rate since the financial crisis and the average in 2018 was 4.3% it is not necessarily sign of fatigue in the labor market. The economy grew at 2.1% pace in the first half down from 3.2% a year earlier.

Unemployment Rate


Business confidence in October rose from an 11-year low perhaps prompted by the seeming trade detente between China and the United States.  The threat of their trade war and the dependence on the New Zealand economy on exports to the Asian market and China in particular had been one of the main reason behind the initial rate cut in May.

The New Zealand Dollar

The New Zealand Dollar also known as the Kiwi for the national bird, has been one of the weakest currencies against the US dollar this year. 

From its January high on the 31st of 0.6912 it lost 9.7% to the low this year of 0.6244 on October 1st.  Since then the recovery has been limited, closing at 0.6361 on November 11th, down 7.9% from the January top. In comparison the Australian Dollar has lost 5.9% versus the US currency in the same period.  


The RBNZ’s early move to economic support will receive a final installment this month. The changing background, particularly the incipient trade deal between the US and China and the Federal Reserve halt, will likely induce a pause down under as well.


Information on these pages contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. Markets and instruments profiled on this page are for informational purposes only and should not in any way come across as a recommendation to buy or sell in these assets. You should do your own thorough research before making any investment decisions. FXStreet does not in any way guarantee that this information is free from mistakes, errors, or material misstatements. It also does not guarantee that this information is of a timely nature. Investing in Open Markets involves a great deal of risk, including the loss of all or a portion of your investment, as well as emotional distress. All risks, losses and costs associated with investing, including total loss of principal, are your responsibility.

Analysis feed

Latest Forex Analysis

Editors’ Picks

EUR/USD: Bulls look to test 200-DMA ahead of Eurozone PMIs

EUR/USD edges a few pips higher towards the 200-DMA located at 1.1153 ahead of the German and Eurozone Preliminary Manufacturing and Services PMI reports. Better-than-expected German PMI is needed to avoid a bearish close.


GBP/USD drops back below 1.3400 ahead of UK PMIs

GBP/USD fades an uptick above the 1.34 handle and trades around 1.3380 despite growing optimism over a speedy and soft Brexit. The focus remains on the UK Markit Preliminary PMIs ahead of BOE.


Forex Today: Caution over deal details offset better China data; Brexit optimism, PMIs to dominate

Despite both sides agreeing on the Phase One trade deal on Friday, markets traded with caution, as they remained sceptical over the details of the deal that appear murky.

Read more

Gold: Flatlined after the biggest weekly gain since September

Gold is lacking a clear directional bias in Asia, having eked out its biggest weekly gain in nearly three months. The yellow metal is currently trading at $1,474 per Oz, representing little or no change on the day.

Gold News

USD/JPY clings to modest gains, just below mid-109.00s

The USD/JPY pair edged higher on the first day of a new trading week, albeit lacked any strong follow-through and remained well within the previous session's trading range.


Forex Majors