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In a scheduled "Economic Update" published on Thursday, the RBNZ signalled a significant strengthening in its easing bias, and dovish shift across its views on domestic inflation and domestic/global growth. At the heart of many of these changes is renewed concern about the elevated NZD. In our view, these changes make clear that the RBNZ is positioning for a deeper easing cycle, notwithstanding ongoing risks to financial stability from rising house prices.
Overall, given recent progress to mitigate these latter risks (efforts we expect will intensify), the RBNZ's published policy sensitivities, our forecast depreciation in the NZD, and below-consensus growth outlook, we now expect the RBNZ will cut rates on three further occasions in August 2016 (-25bp), November 2016 (-25bp) and March 2017 (-25bp). This implies the OCR will finish this cycle at a low of 1.50% (-50bp lower than our previous forecast).
We continue to forecast NZ$/US$ at 68, 64, 62 in 3, 6 and 12 months, respectively.