Australia's Central Bank Leaves Interest Rates Unchanged

RBA governor Philip Lowe waiting to see what effect recent mortgage rate rises and regulatory clampdowns on lending
Australia's Central Bank Leaves Interest Rates Unchanged
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07 June, 2017

But several banks have revised down their forecasts ahead of the release of the national accounts, with the Commonwealth Bank predicting growth of just 0.1 per cent.

Australia's current account deficit was much larger than expected in Q1, narrowing slightly to AUD3.1bln from a downwardly revised 3.5bln in Q4 2016.

With economists forecasting a sharp collapse in first-quarter economic growth figures due out on Wednesday, Mr Morrison moved to pre-empt the bad news, saying it had already been factored into last month's federal budget.

Weak consumer spending, softer exports and falling housing construction likely underlie the economy's struggle for a pulse in the quarter.

The official cash rate will remain unchanged at 1.5 per cent as a result of today's decision by the RBA.

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) kept rates at a record low of 1.5 per cent at its monthly policy review and affirmed its neutral bias.

"Looking forward, economic growth is still expected to increase gradually over the next couple of years to a little above 3 per cent", Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe said. Lowe said in a statement.

Economists will finalise their GDP forecasts after the release of worldwide trade and government spending figures on Tuesday.

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Growth for the year is seen slowing to around 1.6 percent, from 2.4 percent, the slowest since 2009.

Commsec Economist Craig James said the "world's longest economic expansion was still intact".

Wide variations in the housing market have also contributed to uncertainty in the economy. CoreLogic has reported only one month of negative dwelling value movements, albeit during the seasonally weak month of May.

The surging prices are widely seen as being behind the RBA's decision to hold off on further rate cuts owing to worries it would stoke more debt-funded speculation and push the cost of housing even higher.

The Reserve Bank of Australia slashed 300 basis points from borrowing costs between November 2011 and August previous year to support non-resources industries as the economy transitions out of a mining investment boom.

The futures market implies only a one-in-five chance of a cut in cash rates by the year end.

Leading up to today's meeting, all 33 experts in a finder.com.au survey predicted a hold verdict, while 90.23 per cent of brokers surveyed by HashChing also tipped that the RBA would keep the official cash rate on hold.


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