New Zealand cenbank raises rates, data to dictate future rises

WELLINGTON, April 24 (Reuters) - New Zealand's central bank raised its benchmark cash rate by 25 basis points to 3.00 percent on Thursday, as expected, and said there would be further increases to keep on top of inflation pressures in the strongly-growing economy.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand's (RBNZ) decision was seen as a near certainty, after the bank had started its long awaited tightening policy in March after being on hold at a record low for three years.

All 17 analysts in a Reuters poll expected a 25 basis point rise.

Ahead of the decision, financial markets had all but fully priced in a 25 basis point rate rise on Thursday as well as another 111 basis points of tightening over the next 12 months.

New Zealand is the only central bank in a developed economy to have started tightening policy in the current cycle.

New Zealand's 3.0 percent official cash rate compares with Australia's 2.50 percent, the U.S. Federal Reserve's target of 0.0-0.25 percent, the European Central Bank's 0.25 percent, and the Bank of Japan's 0-0.1 percent.

(Reporting by Naomi Tajitsu and Gyles Beckford)