The market consensus is for CPI inflation to fall to 1.1% year-on-year when the data is released on Thursday but most bank economists say that figure is higher than they are expecting

Economists expect consumer price index (CPI) inflation to slip to the bottom end of the Reserve Bank’s target band as the Government’s fees-free University policy weighs on spending.

The 'market consensus' is for a 0.5% CPI increase on Thursday – 0.1% lower than the Reserve Bank’s forecast.

This would bring annual inflation to 1.1% – the central bank is mandated to keep CPI between 1-3% with a target of 2%.

Despite this, inflation has only climbed above that target once in the past half-decade.   

In this case, the market consensus - taken from a Bloomberg poll of both international economic institutions - shows many of the offshore banks were more hawkish about the expected inflation levels than the Kiwi based banks.

Most bank economists here, however, are more dovish than both the Reserve Bank and market expectations, with ANZ, ASB, Kiwibank and BNZ all picking just a 0.4% increase in the first quarter of the year.

Westpac’s estimates are in line with the market consensus.

“Weighing on inflation in Q1 is the introduction of one year’s free tertiary education,” ASB says in a note.

From the start of the year, all New Zealand students who finished school in 2017, or will finish school during 2018, qualify for a year of free provider-based tertiary education or industry training.

As the fees otherwise paid by the students are being covered by the Government, which wasn’t the case last year, it will register as a price fall in the CPI.

Westpac expects the policy will see 0.2% knocked off the inflation rate this year.

Other areas likely to impact CPI on Thursday are food and fuel prices.

“The inflation that will appear is likely to be driven by cigarettes and tobacco (thanks to the excise tax lift) and it would be a real surprise if the housing and household utilities group didn’t have a substantial impact,” BNZ says.

In a note, the bank says it’s original expectations were for a 0.3% quarter on quarter CPI increase but after seeing Monday’s food price data it notched up its predictions.

“We knew that poor weather was going to push fresh vegetable prices higher but we hadn’t expected the 10.6% increase that occurred in this subgroup.”

ANZ is expecting domestic inflation to nudge back up as the year progresses.

“That is largely predicated on our view that the cyclical low in wage inflation is behind us and that courtesy of both skill shortages and government policy changes, wage inflation will continue to lift.”

But this is far from certain, the bank says.

“Given we see GDP growth in the next year or so running around trend, there is little to suggest that inflation is about to break out any time soon.”

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20 Comments

How long can inflation be just around the corner? About time that the governor lowered interest rates, especially with people talking about a possible recession looming.

Repeat something that hasn't been working?

The governor's job is simple - adjust the OCR so inflation averages 2%. I'll only concede that it doesn't work if the OCR sits at 0% for a year or two with no effect. At the moment he still has plenty of room to lower it.

Lets stop all this BS and acknowledge we are actually in a DEFLATIONARY cycle .

Other than seasonal increases in the cost of Tomatoes at the supermarket in the middle of winter , the price of everything is not increasing at all .

And in real terms , imported manufactures are getting cheaper

Its called DEFLATION .

Now say it , slowly , D-E-F-L-A-T-I-O-N

Its a thing ......... really , I promise you its real

A good kind of deflation, if you ask me.

Personally, when I look at the outturn of our annual household budget(s) including such as council rates, insurance we are spending a whole more per annum from year to year than the relative percentages of inflation that are touted. Then again I am no more than a simple man with a simple lifestyle in a simple household. So what would I know and who would believe me or care about that anyway?

Boatman - I think youre confusing disinflation with deflation, two different things - plenty of the first in the past 10 years, not much of the other

What you've described is conflation...

Our overinflated currency, running well above long-term average, is one reason for the deflationary pressures. We all unanimously agree that the factor keeping up our currency is pure speculation and nothing else.

Advisor, disagreed , your statement is therefore false.

Replace currency with housing market.

If it's as low as the banks are picking I'd expect RBNZ to cut again soonish, though I'd also argue after such an extended period of low rates globally it's debatable if it's actually still a stimulus at all. Sustained inflation pressure isn't coming any time soon, the government are not supporting any substantial economic reform or restructuring and we are stuck in an environment of low wage growth expectations. It's time to set aside the silly and unsupported optimism so we can start talking about a realistic economic trajectory.

I doubt a 1% cut would make much of a difference. I think monetary policy never worked as well as they said it did and now it definitely can't work at the zero-lower bound.

All the neo-liberal adjustments have pretty much been done in NZ vis a vis "structural reforms" (aside from silly libertarian extremism). Surely we should be living in economic nirvana? Funny how we aren't eh?

We have a demand deficient economy and high labour underutilisation and a government that is hell bent on austerity.

I am disappointed in the brains trust that runs the RBNZ ............ it seems they would not recognize DEFLATION if it jumped up and bit them on the backside .

Why don't they simply acknowledge what is plain for everyone to see , and then tell us how to get it sorted ?

Quite simply , we are experiencing defaltionary pressures , and we need to be told the truth .

They will let us in on the secret when they declare a recession. Of course, it will be the one we did not know we needed.

1,1% inlflation is not inflation ..............and ts likely the numbers are being massaged because the authorities dont want the truth to come out .

There is a general level of deflation right now

Boatman,

Even for you-like Paddington,a bear of very little brain-that's a corker. "1.10% inflation is not inflation". Then you appear to realise that you are spouting more than your usual nonsense and declare-on no actual evidence,that the figures are being massaged.
I bet you believe in lots of conspiracy theories-and that may well include Global Warming.

I’d pick him to be more of a Flat Earther/Fake Moon Landing sort of guy.

I think many prices have been flat to slightly falling for a couple of years.
Rental and house prices notable exceptions.
Oh yeah, the local noodle house has just raised price for a bowl of ramen from 10 bucks to 12

Rolling over the short end when it comes to mortgage rates has certainly been the best strategy. Looks set to continue for the foreseeable future.