AU: RBA Announcement


Mon Apr 02 23:30:00 CDT 2018

Consensus Actual Previous
Change 0bp 0bp 0bp
Level 1.5% 1.5% 1.50%

Highlights
The Reserve Bank of Australia has again left its main policy rate unchanged at a record-low 1.50 percent, in line with the consensus forecast. This rate was last changed in August 2016, when it was cut by 25 basis points.

The statement accompanying today's decision notes that improved global economic conditions have prompted some central banks to withdraw some monetary stimulus, with further steps in this direction expected. There is little change, however, to officials' assessment of the domestic outlook. Economic growth is still expected to pick up in 2018, supported by stronger exports and non-mining business investment, though officials remain uncertain about prospects for consumer spending. Although employment growth has been solid and is expected to remain so, officials also continue to forecast only a gradual increase in wages growth and inflation.

Reflecting this assessment, officials again see no case for a change in policy settings for now. RBA Governor Philip Lowe has in recent public comments noted that if unemployment falls and inflation rises in line with current RBA forecasts over the coming year then he believes "at some point it will be appropriate to have less monetary stimulus and for interest rates in Australia to move up". Stronger wage growth, however, will likely be required to convince officials that such a move is warranted.

Definition
The Reserve bank of Australia (RBA) announces its monetary policy with regard to interest rates on the first Tuesday of each month with the exception of January when it is on vacation. The RBA is the central bank of Australia and its duty is to contribute to the stability of the currency, full employment, and the economic prosperity and welfare of the Australian people. It does this by setting the cash rate to meet an agreed medium-term inflation target, working to maintain a strong financial system and efficient payments system.

Description
The Reserve Bank of Australia's (RBA's) main responsibility is monetary policy. Policy decisions are made by the Reserve Bank Board with the objective of achieving low and stable inflation over the medium term. Other responsibilities include maintaining financial system stability, while at the same time promoting the safety and efficiency of the payments system. The RBA regards appropriate monetary policy as a major factor contributing to the Australian dollar's stability, which in turn leads to full employment and the economic prosperity for Australia.

The RBA is unique among the central banks - it has two boards with complementary responsibilities. The Reserve Bank Board is responsible for monetary policy and overall financial system stability. The Payments System Board has specific responsibility for the safety and efficiency of the payments system.

The RBA sets an interest rate at which it lends to financial institutions. This interest rate then affects the whole range of interest rates set by commercial banks and other institutions for their own savers and borrowers. It also tends to affect the price of financial assets, such as bonds and shares, and the exchange rate, which affect consumer and business demand in a variety of ways. Lowering or raising interest rates affects spending in the economy.

The level of interest rates affects the economy. Higher interest rates tend to slow economic activity; lower interest rates stimulate economic activity. Either way, interest rates influence the sales environment. In the consumer sector, few homes or cars will be purchased when interest rates rise. Furthermore, interest rate costs are a significant factor for many businesses, particularly for companies with high debt loads or who have to finance high inventory levels. This interest cost has a direct impact on corporate profits. The bottom line is that higher interest rates are bearish for the financial markets, while lower interest rates are bullish.