New Zealand hikes interest rates to seven-year high

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Oct 05 2022 03:11 PM

 New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern arrives at Wainuiomata Intermediate to mark Matariki in Wellington, New Zealand, 23 June 2022. EPA-EFE/HAGEN HOPKINS AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT/FILE
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern arrives at Wainuiomata Intermediate to mark Matariki in Wellington, New Zealand, 23 June 2022. EPA-EFE/HAGEN HOPKINS AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT/FILE

WELLINGTON - New Zealand's central bank on Wednesday delivered its eighth consecutive interest rate hike, sending the country's borrowing costs to their highest level in more than seven years, as it joins a global battle against surging inflation.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand stayed true to its course of the past 18 months, unveiling another 50 basis point increase in its key rate to 3.5 percent -- a level not seen since May 2015 -- and warned of more rises in a bid to stymie price rises.

The move came as its counterparts in the United States, Europe and elsewhere ramp up rates to curtail decades-high inflation, fuelling concerns they could trigger a prolonged global downturn. 

The central bank warned inflation could climb beyond the current 7.3 percent rate, which is already a 32-year high.

Wednesday's announcement came on the same day New Zealand's government unveiled a better financial position than expected in its accounts to the end of June.

A rise in tax revenue and slower growth in spending resulted in a deficit of NZ$9.7 billion (US$5.6 billion), considerably less than the forecast deficit of NZ$19 billion.

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