21 Dec 2012

OCR predicted to stay on hold until 2014

7:44 am on 21 December 2012

Some economists are now expecting interest rates to be held until early 2014 after the economy expanded at a slower pace than expected in the first nine months of the year.

Official figures show Gross Domestic Product (GDP), a broad measure of the health of the economy, grew 0.2% in the three months to September.

Statistics New Zealand also revised down its GDP figure for the two previous quarters, now saying the economy grew 1.2% in the first half of the year, not 1.6%.

ASB chief economist Nick Tuffley says although the Christchurch rebuild boosted activity in the latest quarter, agriculture, manufacturing and services activity all fell.

He now expects the Reserve Bank to keep the Official Cash Rate on hold until at least the end of 2013.

Infometrics managing director Gareth Kiernan says it's unlikely that rates will be cut further but weak data over the last few months may mean they are on hold for longer.

He says data for the last month or two suggests it could be early 2014 before any rate increase.