Interest rates focus for week

Peter McIntyre.
Peter McIntyre.
Central banks' decisions on interest rates are the focus of markets this week, after the strength of the New Zealand dollar waned following five days of gains.

New Zealand's Reserve Bank is widely expected to keep the interest-driving official cash rate at 1.75% on Thursday, while the US Federal Reserve is expected to raise its rate from 2%.

Soured trade relations between the US and China appear to be deepening, and further tariffs imposed by both administration kicked in yesterday.

Craigs Investment Partners broker Peter McIntyre said the New Zealand dollar was up against most currencies, particularly the US dollar and British pound.

The greenback had weakened after a strong period of gains, while the pound fell after Prime Minister Theresa May said Brexit talks had reached an impasse.

Global shares strengthened last week, with the S&P 500 in the US rising 0.9% to fresh highs. European and UK shares were stronger still, rising respectively 2.6% and 1.7% and the emerging markets gained 2.2% for the week.

The ASX 200 rose 0.5%, while the NZX 50 was up another 1.1%, closing at an all time high on Friday.

Mr McIntyre said the US Federal Reserve meeting would be a highlight of this week.

''With a rate hike a certainty, we will be more interested in the updated economic forecasts and commentary,'' he said.

New Zealand's Reserve Bank is widely expected to keep the OCR unchanged on Thursday, given a strong June quarter gross domestic product (GDP) result; up 1% for the quarter and 2.8% for the year to June.

The latest ANZ business outlook survey is due out on Thursday. Two months ago it set the scene of declining business confidence and it has has been a persistent thorn for the Coalition Government.

Mr McIntyre said trade would also remain in the spotlight for markets, as the 10% tariff on another $US200 billion of Chinese goods was to take effect yesterday, while retaliatory tariffs on $US60 billion of US goods were to begin at the same time.

He noted Chinese officials had been scheduled to travel to Washington this week for trade talks, but the visit had since been cancelled.



Thanks RBNZ- you have help destroy many a person's retirement and savings accounts by keeping rates artificially low, below inflation. No real returns, just bubbles to show for it. Now those bubbles you help created are starting to pop/deflate. What is next, negative interest rates once things go south?