UPDATE 1-RBNZ governor says monetary conditions could normalise next year

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WELLINGTON, May 27 (Reuters) – The Reserve Bank Of New Zealand’s (RBNZ) governor said on Thursday that monetary policy conditions could start normalising by about this time next year if the economic outlook unfolds as anticipated.

“In our projections, conditional to the economic outlook continuing to unfold as anticipated, about this time next year if not further on we see ourselves in a positive position of being able to start to normalise monetary conditions towards somewhat neutral position,” Governor Adrian Orr said at a parliamentary select committee meeting.

Even so, Orr said the bank will be patient and wait to see if the economy unfolds as expected.

The bank held interest rates on Wednesday but hinted at a hike as early as September next year, becoming one of the first advanced economies to signal a move away from the stimulatory settings adopted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Orr said the bank saw inflation going above the mid-point range in the near-term, peaking at 2.6%, but those price risks will abate and inflation will move sustainably to the mid-point target over the projected period.

He said the bank’s positive outlook was driven by confidence in the global vaccine rollout and the reduced extreme health risks from COVID-19.

Orr said the NZ$100 billion ($72.80 billion) large scale asset purchase (LSAP) programme, or quantitative easing, will continue broadly at the current rate until its term end in June 2022.

Any changes to purchases, up or down, will be driven by market functioning, he added.

The Governor also said the bank expected house prices in New Zealand, which have sky-rocketed in a low interest rate environment, will slow “dramatically” and effectively go sideways over the second half of the year.

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