Big cut in interest rates will be a big boost to business

By | December 11, 2008

7 December, 2008

The Reserve Bank on Thursday 4 December cut its official cash rate by an unprecedented 1.5 percentage points to 5 percent and banks moved quickly to cut lending rates by varying amounts.

“It will provide a solid boost to business confidence and give us the chance to return to growth next year,” said Wellington Regional Chamber of Commerce chief executive Charles Finny.

Bruce Goldsworthy, acting chief executive of the Employers and Manufacturers Association (Northern) said given the softening in demand in world markets, exporters needed today’s big cut to keep downward pressure on the New Zealand dollar.

The New Zealand dollar has fallen from above US82c this year to US53c this week, increasing returns to exporters. But exporters also face the prospect of slower demand in export markets as a result of the global financial crisis.

Countries around the world have slashed interest rates to stimulate economies. This week the Reserve Bank of Australia lowered its rate by 100 basis points to 4.25 percent, taking the rate to its lowest level in 6-1/2 years.

“For exporters it’s vital that our interest rates do not get too far out of whack with those in Australia and elsewhere lest our currency falls victim to offshore speculators and/or investors in our debt instruments,” Mr Goldsworthy said.