WELLINGTON, New Zealand — New Zealand’s consumer prices climbed 7.3% in the second quarter from the year before, maintaining pressure on the central bank to continue its rapid interest rate increases.
The statistics agency on Monday said the inflation rate was at a 32-year high. The single largest contributor to inflation was rising prices for construction and home rentals, it said.
The median forecast in a survey of economists by The Wall Street Journal was for the inflation rate to increase to 7.1% from 6.9% in the first quarter.
Inflation has soared globally during the COVID-19 pandemic, fueled by monetary stimulus and increased government spending, global shipping disruptions and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Central banks are aggressively raising interest rates to tame price increases, but risk tipping economies into recession.
The Reserve Bank of New Zealand last week raised its cash rate by a half-percentage point for a third consecutive meeting, to 2.5%. It was the central bank’s sixth rate increase since October, when the cash rate was lifted from a record low 0.25%. The RBNZ has projected that the cash rate will peak at about 4.0% by mid-2023.