Australia Holds Cash Rate Steady at 1.5%


The Reserve Bank of Australia decided to leave the cash rate unchanged at a record low of 1.5 percent during the meeting held on December 6th, as expected. While saying the economy is continuing its transition following the mining investment boom, policymakers judged some slowing in the year-ended growth rate is likely, before it picks up again.

Excerpt from the statement by the governor, Philip Lowe:

In Australia, further increases in exports of resources are expected as completed projects come on line. The outlook for business investment remains subdued, although measures of business sentiment remain above average.

Labour market indicators continue to be somewhat mixed. The unemployment rate has declined this year, although some measures of labour underutilisation are little changed. There continues to be considerable variation in employment outcomes across the country. Part-time employment has been growing strongly, but employment growth overall has slowed. The forward-looking indicators point to continued expansion in employment in the near term.

Inflation remains quite low. The continuing subdued growth in labour costs means that inflation is expected to remain low for some time, before returning to more normal levels.

Low interest rates have been supporting domestic demand and the lower exchange rate since 2013 has been helping the traded sector. Financial institutions are in a position to lend for worthwhile purposes. These factors are assisting the economy to make the necessary adjustments, though an appreciating exchange rate could complicate this.

Conditions in the housing market have strengthened overall, although they vary considerably around the country. In some markets, prices are rising briskly, while in others they are declining. Housing credit has picked up a little, although turnover of established dwellings is lower than it was a year ago. Supervisory measures have strengthened lending standards and some lenders are taking a more cautious attitude to lending in certain segments. Considerable supply of apartments is scheduled to come on stream over the next couple of years, particularly in the eastern capital cities. Growth in rents is the slowest for some decades.

Taking account of the available information, and having eased monetary policy earlier in the year, the Board judged that holding the stance of policy unchanged at this meeting would be consistent with sustainable growth in the economy and achieving the inflation target over time.

Australia Holds Cash Rate Steady at 1.5%


RBA l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com
12/6/2016 5:36:20 AM