The Reserve Bank of Australia has announced the official cash rate will be held at 1.5 per cent, following its September board meeting.
The RBA has resolved to keep interest rates on hold at 1.5 per cent ahead of a possible US rate hike on 21 September and the release of Australian CPI figures on 26 October.
As expected, RBA governor Glenn Stevens’ final meeting before handing over the reins to his successor Philip Lowe proved to be uneventful.
The decision to keep rates on hold was in line with market expectations, with the ASX 30 Day Interbank Cash Rate Futures September 2016 contract pricing in a 95 per cent chance of ‘no change’ to the cash rate.
UBS chief economist Scott Haslem said the RBA is likely to remain on hold for the “foreseeable future” given firm growth data, a likely lower trend in the Australian dollar and concern about financial stability.
“While inflation will remain low, core inflation is likely to drift modestly higher from here,” Mr Haslem said.
The ANU Centre for Applied Macroeconomics Analysis (CAMA) Shadow Board attached a 57 per cent probability to 1.5 per cent being the correct policy setting.
“The CAMA RBA Shadow Board clearly believes that the cash rate should not be cut any further,” said the Shadow Board.
“After the RBA’s decision in August to cut the cash rate to a historic low of 1.5 per cent, there is good reason to pause.
“Unemployment fell slightly, but only because of a large increase in part-time employment. With consumer price inflation equaling 1 per cent year-on-year, well below the RBA’s 2-3 per cent target band, and wage growth a modest 2.1 per cent year-on-year, there exist little immediate inflationary pressures,” said the Shadow Board.
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