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New Zealand's inflation declines to 13-year low, below 1-3% target band

WELLINGTON -- New Zealand's inflation slipped to a 13-year low of 0.8 percent in the year to September, official data showed Tuesday, taking it below the central bank's 1- to 3-percent target band.

Statistics New Zealand said inflation rose 0.3 percent in the September quarter, lower than market expectations of a 0.5-percent rise, due to falls in domestic air fares, gasoline and telecommunications services.

It said inflation for the year to September was 0.8 percent, the smallest annual increase since December 1999.

However, with inflation set to rise over the medium term, fuelled by construction in earthquake-hit Christchurch, economists said the Reserve Bank of New Zealand would maintain a hands-off approach to interest rates.

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