NZ lifts rates by 0.5%, US expected to do the same – what about here?

The other night in the US, minutes from the May 3-4 meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) revealed members saw the need to raise rates faster than the market expected, in order to dampen inflation.

The meeting resulted in a 50-basis-point rate hike, which was the biggest jump in 22 years. The FOMC said further such rate hikes would “likely be appropriate” at its upcoming June and July meetings.

On Wednesday New Zealand’s central bank raised interest rates by 0.5% for a second straight meeting, and forecast more aggressive hikes to come, again to tame inflation. It’s the first time in more than 20 years that NZ has lifted rates by 1% over 2 months in a row. The NZ Reserve Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee lifted the Official Cash Rate from 1.5% to 2%, with the NZ Treasurer saying labour shortages and cost of living pressures were the reason for the rate hike.

This leaves New Zealand at 2% and Australia sitting at 0.35%, but we’re both facing the same challenges, so what does that mean for us? An almost certain increase in rates in June by at least 0.25% but budget for a 0.5% increase – stranger things have happened.

In other news, on Monday night I was lucky enough to be hosting Money News on the first business day under the new government. On that day the market closed up 8 points, largely due to the big miners as iron ore rose on Friday night. Amongst a very busy show I interviewed Scott Phillips from the Motley Fool and asked him what impact a change of government should have on share portfolio strategies. Have a listen to his answer.