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New Zealand keeps benchmark rate on hold

Published on Oct 25, 2012 8:55 AM

WELLINGTON (AFP) - New Zealand's central bank left interest rates at a record low of 2.5 percent on Thursday, citing modest domestic growth and a "fragile" global economy.

While Reserve Bank of New Zealand governor Graeme Wheeler raised concerns about the impact of the country's persistently high currency on exports, he said conditions did not warrant changing rates for the first time in 19 months.

"For now, it remains appropriate for the OCR (official cash rate) to be held at 2.5 percent," Mr Wheeler said in his first monetary policy statement since taking over as head of the central bank last month.

The benchmark rate has not changed since March last year, when it was slashed in a bid to cushion the economy from the impact of the devastating Christchurch earthquakes, which claimed 185 lives in the South Island city.

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