NZ inflation slows more than expected, rates seen on hold


UPDATE 1-NZ inflation slows more than expected, rates seen on hold

By Ana Nicolaci da CostaWELLINGTON, July 18 (Reuters) - Inflation in New Zealand
slowed by more than expected in the second quarter, sending the
local dollar sharply lower and likely to reinforce the central
bank's resolve to keep interest rates steady at record lows for
some time.
    Consumer price inflation was flat in the second quarter,
below the 0.2 percent expected by analysts in a Reuters poll,
and down sharply from the 1.0 percent posted in the first
    Statistics New Zealand said consumer prices grew 1.7 percent
between April and June on an annual basis, down from 2.2 percent
in the first quarter of this year and again under forecasts of
1.9 percent.
    The numbers were lower than those forecast by the Reserve
Bank of New Zealand and sent the local dollar <NZD=D4> down half
a U.S. cent to $0.7269.
    The RBNZ had forecast inflation of 0.3 percent on a
quarterly basis and 2.1 percent on an annual basis for the
second quarter of 2017.
    The central bank has stuck to a neutral policy stance even
as New Zealand's has enjoyed some of the strongest growth among
advanced economies and annual inflation hit a five-year high in
the first quarter.

 (Reporting by Ana Nicolaci da Costa; Editing by Eric Meijer)
 ((ana.dacosta@thomsonreuters.com; +64 27 352 8960; Reuters
Messaging: ana.nicolacidacosta.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))


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