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The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) left the country’s overnight cash rate (OCR) unchanged at 1.75%, as markets broadly anticipated, and the RBNZ’s overall outlook for the domestic New Zealand economy remains steady with the central bank’s previous releases, though a spark of hopefulness in employment gains may see headwinds from global trade tensions, leaving the RBNZ in an accommodative stance for the time being.

Key highlights (via RBNZ)

We expect to keep the OCR at this level through 2019 and into 2020. The direction of our next OCR move could be up or down.

Employment is around its sustainable level and consumer price inflation remains below the 2 percent mid-point of our target, necessitating continued supportive monetary policy. Our outlook for the OCR assumes the pace of growth will pick up over the coming year, assisting inflation to return to the target mid-point.

Our projection for the New Zealand economy, as detailed in the August Monetary Policy Statement, is little changed. While GDP growth in the June quarter was stronger than we had anticipated, downside risks to the growth outlook remain.

Robust global economic growth and a lower New Zealand dollar exchange rate is expected to support demand for our exports. Global inflationary pressure is expected to rise, but remain modest. Trade tensions remain in some major economies, increasing the risk that ongoing increases in trade barriers could undermine global growth. Domestically, ongoing spending and investment, by both households and government, is expected to support growth.

There are welcome early signs of core inflation rising towards the mid-point of the target. Higher fuel prices are likely to boost inflation in the near term, but we will look through this volatility as appropriate. Consumer price inflation is expected to gradually rise to our 2 percent annual target as capacity pressures bite.

We will keep the OCR at an expansionary level for a considerable period to contribute to maximising sustainable employment, and maintaining low and stable inflation.