New Zealand hikes interest rates for third time to 3.25 percent as economy picks up steam

New Zealand has raised its benchmark interest rate for the third time this year to 3.25 percent.

The country's Reserve Bank on Thursday said the economy has "considerable momentum" and is growing at about a 4 percent annual clip.

New Zealand is among the first industrialized nations to begin raising rates since the 2008 global financial crisis. Its economy has benefited from strong demand in China for its milk exports and rebuilding efforts in the city of Christchurch following a 2011 earthquake.

However, the rate hikes have put upward pressure on the New Zealand dollar as global investors have sought better returns on their money. That, in turn, has hurt exporters.

The Reserve Bank forecasts that the economy's growth will ease over the coming year to about 2.3 percent.