8 Dec 2014

Interest rates expected to be held

6:39 am on 8 December 2014

Those calling for the Reserve Bank to cut interest rates are likely to be disappointed on Thursday.

None of the 16 economists surveyed by Reuters are expecting any change to the central bank's official cash rate but all of them expect the next move will be up.

About a quarter expect a rate hike in June at the earliest, while one economist does not think the bank will move before early 2016.

However, Westpac chief economist Dominick Stephens said he expected Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler would make it clear rates would rise eventually.

He said there was a bit of a difference of opinion among market participants on where the Reserve Bank's thinking was at.

"I think that stems from the October OCR review, which omitted any explicit reference to rising interest rates, which was then, in market's mind perhaps contradicted in November, when the Reserve Bank issued its financial stability report and pointedly said look, we expect interest rates to rise over the next couple of years."

Mr Stephens said he expected the December Monetary Policy Statement would clarify the situation.

ASB Bank chief economist Nick Tuffley said there was a chance interest rates would not need to rise.

"We do still think interest rates will need to go up eventually, but there's certainly been an increase in the possibility that they don't," he said.

Mr Tuffley said that could happen if inflation pressures did not come through.

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