AU: RBA Announcement

July 4, 2016 11:30 CDT

Consensus Actual Previous
Change 0bp 0bp 0bp
Level 1.75% 1.75% 1.75%

As expected, the Reserve Bank of Australia left its key interest rate at 1.75 percent where it has been since May. With the impact of Brexit on the Australian economy highly uncertain and an update on inflation due later this month, the RBA kept its policy unchanged.

In its statement, the RBA said that more information should allow to refine growth and inflation assessment. The Bank said that inflation was quite low and is expected to remain low for some time. It noted that low interest rates were helping to rebalance the economy but the rising Australian dollar could complicate things.

Regarding Brexit, the RBA said that financial markets were volatile after the vote but functioned effectively. Funding costs for high-quality borrowers remain low and, globally, monetary policy remains remarkably accommodative. Any effects of the referendum outcome on global economic activity remain to be seen and, outside the effects on the UK economy itself, may be hard to discern.

Low interest rates have been supporting domestic demand and the lower exchange rate since 2013 is helping the traded sector. Financial institutions are in a position to lend and credit growth has been moderate. These factors are all assisting the economy to make the necessary economic adjustments, though an appreciating exchange rate could complicate this.

It concluded by saying "Taking account of the available information, the Board judged that holding monetary policy steady would be prudent at this meeting. Over the period ahead, further information should allow the Board to refine its assessment of the outlook for growth and inflation and to make any adjustment to the stance of policy that may be appropriate."

The central bank of Australia announces its monetary policy with regard to interest rates on the first Tuesday of each month with the exception of January.

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.