5 Mar 2012

Reserve Bank still way off raising interest rates

6:58 am on 5 March 2012

The risk of collapse in the eurozone appears to be abating, but the Reserve Bank's still expected to be some way off raising interest rates.

The Reserve Bank will release its latest Monetary Policy Statement on Thursday.

Since the bank's last statement, the shape of the global economy has changed - Europe is sorting out its financial crisis, agreeing on another bail out for Greece.

Domestic retail sales have risen and there seems to be more activity in the housing market.

But, ANZ chief economist Cameron Bagrie says the economy is still unsteady and any sign of a rebuild in Christchurch is months away.

He says he expects the Official Cash Rate to remain at 2.5% for some time to come.

Mr Bagrie says in the past there has been an economic downturn which lasts six to 12 months, interest rates move down, but then move up reasonably quickly once the recovery gets underway.

But he says the economy is not just facing cyclical challenges now and there has been a fundamental structural change around the globe.

Mr Bagrie says the global financial crisis signalled the end of a "borrow and spend" model and the onset of a different way of doing business.

He says the New Zealand and global economies are being hit by a combination of structural headwinds and cyclical tail winds.

Mr Bagrie says the economy is only moving ahead slowly which is allowing the Reserve Bank to keep interest rates lower for longer.