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New Zealand raises official cash rate to 3.0 percent in well-flagged move

WELLINGTON--New Zealand's central bank lifted interest rates for the second time in as many months on Thursday, saying it was necessary to contain inflation as an economic recovery gains momentum.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand raised the official cash rate (OCR) 0.25 points to 3.0 percent in a well-flagged move that was widely anticipated by market watchers, who predict rates will hit 4.5 percent by the end of next year.

The hike comes after New Zealand last month became the first advanced economy to tighten monetary policy since 2012, ending a three-year freeze when the benchmark rate rose to 2.75 percent from a record low of 2.5 percent.

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