In the first round of competition, students had a chance to try their hand at making a Monetary Policy decision, setting the main interest rate that influences the cost of borrowing and interest paid on savings. The annual competition attracted entries from 35 secondary schools from across New Zealand to step into the shoes of a Reserve Bank economist.The six schools selected as finalists to compete in the second round of competition next month are Auckland Grammar, Christ’s College, Christchurch Girls’ High School, King’s College, Macleans College, and Mt Albert Grammar.King’s College is the only school from the 2018 finalists to have previously won the competition.The competition is designed to increase students’ understanding of monetary policy by working as a team to assess economic conditions and make a prediction for the Official Cash Rate (OCR) decision. The competition is open to Year 12 and 13 secondary school students and can also contribute towards NCEA achievement standards.Reserve Bank economists judged the competition and said they were impressed by the broad range of factors schools considered when making their decisions, and by their answers during the question and answer session.“Students demonstrated a sound understanding of what matters for monetary policy. They did very well in justifying their decision during the presentation, as well as applying economic theory to real life situations during the Q&A,” Reserve Bank economists Amy Rice and Nick Mulligan said.“We were particularly impressed by the number of schools that recognised that the Bank’s mandate has changed and considered the labour market as part of their analysis.”The finalists will travel to the Bank in Wellington for the National finals on 3 July to give an oral presentation and compete for the title of Challenge winner. The winning team will be invited back to the Reserve Bank on 9 August 2018 to attend the Monetary Policy Statement media conference.More information: Visit the Monetary Policy Challenge website.