April 16, 2019 / 4:46 AM / a month ago

Interview: NZ central bank chief says easing bias remains for now

Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) Governor Adrian Orr is pictured during an interview at the bank in Wellington, New Zealand, April 16, 2019. REUTERS/Charlotte Greenfield

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - New Zealand’s central bank governor Adrian Orr said on Tuesday an easing bias on interest rates will remain in place for now and that softer global economic conditions had contributed to the bank’s recent shift to a dovish policy tone.

At the last policy review in March, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) kept rates unchanged, but stunned markets by clearly stating that the next move in rates would likely to be a cut.

“It remains, but it remains to be challenged by the data that we have seen,” Orr told Reuters in an interview when asked if the central bank is maintaining its easing bias.

He said the RBNZ is still assessing data and broad economic conditions for the next interest rate decision on May 8, which would be the first to be delivered by a new monetary policy committee, rather than the governor alone.

Orr also said that the New Zealand dollar is trading around a “happy space,” suggesting the central bank has no immediate concerns about the currency’s current value.

Reporting by Praveen Menon and Charlotte Greenfield; Editing by Shri Navaratnam

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