(Bloomberg) -- New Zealand inflation accelerated to the fastest pace in more than 31 years in the fourth quarter, reinforcing bets that the central bank will keep raising interest rates.

The annual inflation rate jumped to 5.9% from 4.9% in the third quarter, Statistics New Zealand said Thursday in Wellington. Economists forecast 5.7%. Consumer prices advanced 1.4% from three months earlier, exceeding the 1.3% median estimate. 

Policy makers worldwide are being forced to bring forward tightening plans as supply chain disruptions fan inflation, with the Federal Reserve saying Wednesday it will soon be appropriate to raise rates. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand, which seeks to keep inflation around the midpoint of a 1-3% target band, raised its official cash rate twice in the fourth quarter and has signaled further increases. 

The New Zealand dollar was little changed after the inflation report. It bought 66.51 U.S. cents at 10.49 a.m. in Wellington.

RBNZ policy makers meet on Feb. 23 with a quarter-point hike to 1% fully priced in by investors.

The annual inflation rate is the highest since the second quarter of 1990 when it peaked at 7.6%. 


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