New Zealand cuts benchmark interest rate to new low of 1.5%

Citing lower global growth, New Zealand's Reserve Bank has cut the nation's benchmark interest rate by a quarter point to an all-time low of 1.5%

WELLINGTON, New Zealand -- Citing lower global growth, New Zealand's Reserve Bank has cut the nation's benchmark interest rate by a quarter point to an all-time low of 1.5%.

The cut on Wednesday brings New Zealand's rate in line with Australia's rate of 1.5%. It was New Zealand's first cut since November 2016, when the bank also cut the rate by a quarter point.

The bank says demand for New Zealand's goods and services has slowed since mid-2018 as global economic growth has moderated. It says employment was near the maximum sustainable level but the outlook for employment growth was subdued.

The New Zealand dollar fell by about one-third of 1 cent on the news, and was trading at a little under 66 U.S. cents.