• Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler has pushed back against calls for an interest rate hike, saying there was an even chance the next official cash rate (OCR)  could be lower.

In a speech in Auckland on Thursday, Wheeler reiterated the Reserve Bank’s forecast that the benchmark rate – which influences mortgage and savings rates – was expected to sit unchanged at 1.75 per cent until the end of 2019.

While the New Zealand economy is growing at among the fastest rate of any major western economy, Wheeler said pressures from offshore were more likely to be negative than positive.

“In effect, there is an equal probability that the next OCR adjustment could be up or down,” Wheeler said.

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John Hawkins/FAIRFAX NZ
Reserve Bank goveror Graeme Wheeler warned on Thursday that New Zealand could lose out if major economies such as the US opted to establish trade barriers to protect domestic interests.