New Zealand hikes rates for first time in three years

New Zealand's central bank lifted the official cash rate (OCR) 0.25 points to 2.75 percent on Thursday, ending a three-year interest rate freeze imposed after the devastating Christchurch earthquake.

In a widely anticipated move, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand said rates no longer needed to be kept at a record low of 2.5 percent because the economy's expansion "has considerable momentum".

"By increasing the OCR as needed to keep future average inflation near the 2.0 percent target mid-point, the bank is seeking to ensure that the economic expansion can be sustained," governor Graeme Wheeler said.