Australia: RBA holds rate at record low in November
November 4, 2014
The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) left the cash rate unchanged at the record low of 2.50% at its 4 November meeting. The decision was broadly expected by the market and marked the 12th consecutive meeting in which the reference rate was unchanged. The RBA decided to keep the rate at its prior level because the accommodative monetary policy stance, “appropriately configured to foster sustainable growth in demand and inflation outcomes consistent with the target.” The Bank restated as in its previous statements that, “the most prudent course is likely to be a period of stability in interest rates.”
The Bank’s accompanying statement was similar to the past statement. Concerning the global economy, the RBA acknowledged that, "financial conditions overall remain very accommodative,” and that, “long-term interest rates and risk spreads remain very low.” In addition, the Bank stated that China’s growth has generally been on target, however, “weakening property markets there present a challenge in the near term.” In regard to the domestic economy, the RBA maintained that moderate economic growth is occurring, however, “resources sector investment spending is starting to decline significantly.” Accordingly, the Bank expects that economic growth will be below trend for the upcoming quarters and that Australia’s high unemployment rate will persist. As in the previous statement, the RBA added that public spending is, “scheduled to be subdued,” which is consistent with the government’s fiscal position.
The Bank said that credit growth is moderate, however lending to housing investors has picked up. The RBA added that the exchange rate has traded at relatively lower levels, but still remains relatively high compared with estimates of its fundamental value. The Bank stated that the exchange rate, “is offering less assistance than would normally be expected in achieving balanced growth in the economy." The RBA maintained its expectations regarding inflation, which are projected to be consistent with its 2.0% to 3.0% target over the next two years.