Australia, New Zealand Keep Global Rate Hikes on Upward Swing

A smaller-than-anticipated rate hike in Australia has fueled talk that global monetary tightening will slow as the growth outlook turns, Reuters reported. For some, the debate is premature with the likes of the U.S. Federal Reserve unlikely to ease up on the brakes until inflation shows clear signs of slowing. Central banks in the 10 big developed economies have raised rates by a combined 2,040 basis points (bps) in this cycle to date, with Japan the holdout "dove." The Reserve Bank of New Zealand on Wednesday delivered its eighth straight hike - and fifth consecutive rise of 50 bps - to lift rates to 3.5%, the highest in seven years. The RBNZ even debated a larger 75 bps move given intense price pressures, in a reminder to markets that central banks remain very much in a hawkish mood. The Reserve Bank of Australia delivered a smaller-than-anticipated 25 bps rate rise on Wednesday, saying it had raised rates substantially but further tightening would be necessary. Investors reacted by selling the Aussie dollar. The RBA has delivered 250 bps of hikes, raising rates every month since May and pushing its key rate to a seven-year high of 2.60%. Read more.