ASB chief executive Vittoria Shortt warns homeowners to prepare for all scenarios on interest rates

  • 16/02/2024

ASB chief executive Vittoria Shortt says New Zealanders should prepare for all scenarios when it comes to interest rates. 

Shortt told the NZ Herald, in an interview published on Thursday, it was "dangerous" to assume rates would go down, up or stay the same. 

ASB's economists expect the official cash rate (OCR) to remain at 5.5 percent after the Reserve Bank's next meeting despite stronger-than-expected employment data last week. 

But people should be "prepared for any eventuality", Shortt told the Herald

"I think it's dangerous to bank on rates staying the same, or definitely moving higher, or definitely moving lower," she said. 

The economic environment, she told the Herald, was still "uncertain". 

ASB forecasts interest rates will start to be reduced by the central bank (RBNZ) in the second quarter of this year. 

"Notwithstanding these recent surprises, we still expect inflation will fall back below 3 percent by the September quarter of this year (with the result published in mid-October)," the bank's latest Economic Weekly report said.  

"The risks have definitely skewed to that point in time being later than our August forecast for OCR cuts, which we are retaining. But we are also mindful that we are at a turning point in the economic data, which makes things hard to read and easy to flip-flop on OCR forecasts. 

"We will continue to watch events closely, but still judge that inflation and other data should give the RBNZ confidence to cut around August - November."