College in Reserve Bank final

17:00, Aug 14 2014

James Hargest College will compete in the national final of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Monetary Policy Challenge.

The school won the lower South Island regional final this week.

This year, the teams' presentations largely focused on key factors influencing the economy, such as high levels of migration, housing market activity, and falling commodity prices.

Judges praised the James Hargest College team for the high standard of their written submission as well as their oral presentation, which they gave via video conference after being unable to travel to Dunedin because of last week's weather.

"The team had a great understanding of economic theory, which was applied to current real-world topics that are affecting inflation. We were really impressed with the range of issues that were discussed in a well-structured and concise manner. This took a lot of skill," they said.

The monetary policy challenge is designed to expand senior secondary school economics students' understanding of monetary policy and links to NCEA achievement standards.

Just like economists working in the Reserve Bank, each team analyses the economic conditions facing New Zealand and the outlook for inflation. On the basis of that analysis, they decide on an appropriate setting for the official cash rate (the Reserve Bank's interest rate). Each team presents the reasons for their decision in a written submission and, if selected as a finalist, an oral presentation.

The James Hargest College team will compete against five other schools in the national final at the Reserve Bank in Wellington on Wednesday.

The winning team will receive $2500 for its school and will be invited back to the Reserve Bank on September 11 to watch the governor announce the monetary policy statement.

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The Southland Times