17 Jul 2013

Economist backs macro tools over 'blunt instrument'

8:08 am on 17 July 2013

An economist says the Reserve Bank's plan to use macro prudential tools such as limiting the amount banks can lend to those with low deposits is a positive development.

The chief economist at New Zealand's largest fund manager AMP Capital says the fact household debt has started to climb and the household savings rate is falling raises concerts about financial stability.

Bevan Graham says the housing market is becoming a problem again too.

"Since 2007 we've seen some positive trends with household debt levels coming down."

But he says a reversal of this trend indicates the country is moving back towards some "old bad habits."

He says interest rates are too blunt a monetary instrument for an uneven economy which overall does need a rise.

He says macro-prudential tools such as raising the minimum deposit for mortgages could help first home buyers.

"If macro-prudential tools are actually successful in stopping house prices from rising too rapidly, then that's actually a good thing for first home buyers."