ANZ predicts February OCR hike following GDP growth

ANZ economists predict the official cash rate will begin to rise in February, after the New Zealand economy roared back into life in the first quarter.

Latest GDP figures show the economy grew by 1.6% in the three months to March, beating forecasts of -0.6%. 

The surprisingly strong data has prompted ANZ's team of economists to bring forward their rate hike predictions. 

ANZ's team, led by Sharon Zollner, had predicted rate increases from August next year, but today's data has prompted the team to change course.

"While the data remain noisy under the hood, the core drivers of domestic demand, alongside lingering supply disruptions and biting capacity constraints, mean inflation pressures are lifting strongly. That’s consistent with OCR hikes being needed, and a year from now feels too far away.

However, the bank stopped short of saying a hike was guaranteed. The team of economists said a rate increase was "highly conditional, in light of the Reserve Bank’s 'least regrets' approach. In particular, the evolution of inflation, inflation expectations and the labour market are key," the bank said.

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