Australia Holds Cash Rate Steady At 1.5% In July


The Reserve Bank of Australia left the cash rate unchanged at a record low of 1.5 percent during the meeting held on July 4th, as widely expected. Policymakers said the slowdown in Q1 GDP growth was temporary and the economy is expected to strengthen gradually, with the transition to lower levels of mining investment following the mining investment boom almost complete.

Excerpt from the statement by the governor, Philip Lowe:

Domestically, business conditions have improved and capacity utilisation has increased. Business investment has picked up in those parts of the country not directly affected by the decline in mining investment. At the same time, consumption growth remains subdued, reflecting slow growth in real wages and high levels of household debt.

Indicators of the labour market remain mixed. Employment growth has been stronger over recent months. The various forward-looking indicators point to continued growth in employment over the period ahead. Wage growth remains low, however, and this is likely to continue for a while yet. Inflation is expected to increase gradually as the economy strengthens.

The outlook continues to be supported by the low level of interest rates. The depreciation of the exchange rate since 2013 has also assisted the economy in its transition following the mining investment boom. An appreciating exchange rate would complicate this adjustment.

Conditions in the housing market vary considerably around the country. Housing prices have been rising briskly in some markets, although there are some signs that these conditions are starting to ease. In some other markets, prices are declining. In the eastern capital cities, a considerable additional supply of apartments is scheduled to come on stream over the next couple of years. Rent increases are the slowest for two decades. Growth in housing debt has outpaced the slow growth in household incomes. The recent supervisory measures should help address the risks associated with high and rising levels of household indebtedness. Lenders have also announced increases in mortgage rates for investor and interest-only loans.

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

RBA l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com
7/4/2017 5:51:23 AM