07 Mar '11, 5am

PM favours rate cut for quake-hit New Zealand

WELLINGTON: New Zealand's earthquake-battered economy would receive a much-needed boost this week if the central bank cut interest rates, Prime Minister John Key said on Monday. Key said that in the wake of the Christchurch earthquake, most analysts expected Reserve Bank governor Alan Bollard to drop the official cash rate from 3.0 per cent when he reviews monetary policy on Thursday. "Certainly the markets have factored in a likely cut in the official cash rate, and you've got to say lower interest rates probably help the country, but that ultimately is a matter for the governor," he told TVNZ. Key supported a rate cut but denied trying to influence Bollard, who sets interest rates independently of the government, saying he was simply stating a fact by pointing out lower interest rates would help the economy. "The question was 'would it be helpful?', well lower interest r...

Full article: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific_bu...

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