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RBA Media Release, May 2024

By Wellinvest
Wellinvest Update

Statement by the Reserve Bank Board: Monetary Policy Decision

At its meeting today, the Board decided to leave the cash rate target unchanged at 4.35 per cent and the interest rate paid on Exchange Settlement balances unchanged at 4.25 per cent.

Inflation remains high and is falling more gradually than expected.

Recent information indicates that inflation continues to moderate, but is declining more slowly than expected. The CPI grew by 3.6 per cent over the year to the March quarter, down from 4.1 per cent over the year to December. Underlying inflation was higher than headline inflation and declined by less. This was due in large part to services inflation, which remains high and is moderating only gradually.

Higher interest rates have been working to bring aggregate demand and supply somewhat closer towards balance. But the data indicate continuing excess demand in the economy, coupled with strong domestic cost pressures, both for labour and non-labour inputs. Conditions in the labour market have eased over the past year, but remain tighter than is consistent with sustained full employment and inflation at target. Wages growth appears to have peaked but is still above the level that can be sustained given trend productivity growth. Meanwhile, inflation is still weighing on people’s real incomes and output growth has been subdued, reflecting weak household consumption growth.

The outlook remains highly uncertain.

The economic outlook remains uncertain and recent data have demonstrated that the process of returning inflation to target is unlikely to be smooth.

The central forecasts, based on the assumption that the cash rate follows market expectations, are for inflation to return to the target range of 2–3 per cent in the second half of 2025, and to the midpoint in 2026. In the near term, inflation is forecast to be higher because of the recent rise in domestic petrol prices, and higher than expected services price inflation, which is now forecast to decline more slowly over the rest of the year. Inflation is, however, expected to decline over 2025 and 2026.

The persistence of services inflation is a key uncertainty. It is expected to ease more slowly than previously forecast, reflecting stronger labour market conditions including a more gradual increase in the unemployment rate and the broader underutilisation rate. Growth in unit labour costs also remains very high. It has begun to moderate slightly as measured productivity growth picked up in the second half of last year. This trend needs to be sustained over time if inflation is to continue to decline.

At the same time, household consumption growth has been particularly weak as high inflation and the earlier rises in interest rates have affected real disposable income. In response, households have been curbing discretionary spending and maintaining their saving. Real incomes have now stabilised and are expected to grow later in the year, supporting growth in consumption. But there is a risk that household consumption picks up more slowly than expected, resulting in continued subdued output growth and a noticeable deterioration in the labour market.

More broadly, there are uncertainties regarding the lags in the effect of monetary policy and how firms’ pricing decisions and wages will respond to the slower growth in the economy at a time of excess demand, and while the labour market remains tight.

There also remains a high level of uncertainty about the overseas outlook. While there has been improvement in the outlook for the Chinese and US economies, and many global commodity prices have picked up, geopolitical uncertainties, including those related to the conflicts in the Middle East and Ukraine, remain elevated.

Returning inflation to target is the priority.

Returning inflation to target within a reasonable timeframe remains the Board’s highest priority. This is consistent with the RBA’s mandate for price stability and full employment. The Board needs to be confident that inflation is moving sustainably towards the target range. To date, medium-term inflation expectations have been consistent with the inflation target and it is important that this remains the case.

Recent data indicate that, while inflation is easing, it is doing so more slowly than previously expected and it remains high. The Board expects that it will be some time yet before inflation is sustainably in the target range and will remain vigilant to upside risks. The path of interest rates that will best ensure that inflation returns to target in a reasonable timeframe remains uncertain and the Board is not ruling anything in or out. The Board will rely upon the data and the evolving assessment of risks. In doing so, it will continue to pay close attention to developments in the global economy, trends in domestic demand, and the outlook for inflation and the labour market. The Board remains resolute in its determination to return inflation to target.

RBA Media Release, March 2024

By Wellinvest
Wellinvest Update

Statement by the Reserve Bank Board: Monetary Policy Decision

At its meeting today, the Board decided to leave the cash rate target unchanged at 4.35 per cent and the interest rate paid on Exchange Settlement balances unchanged at 4.25 per cent.

Inflation continues to moderate but remains high.

Recent information suggests that inflation continues to moderate, in line with the RBA’s latest forecasts. The headline monthly CPI indicator was steady at 3.4 per cent over the year to January, with momentum easing over recent months, driven by moderating goods inflation. Services inflation remains elevated, and is moderating at a more gradual pace. The data are consistent with continuing excess demand in the economy and strong domestic cost pressures, both for labour and non-labour inputs.

Higher interest rates are working to establish a more sustainable balance between aggregate demand and supply in the economy. Accordingly, conditions in the labour market continue to ease gradually, although they remain tighter than is consistent with sustained full employment and inflation at target. Wages growth picked up a little further in the December quarter, but appears to have peaked with indications it will moderate over the year ahead. Nevertheless, this level of wages growth remains consistent with the inflation target only on the assumption that productivity growth increases to around its long-run average. Inflation is still weighing on people’s real incomes and household consumption growth is weak, as is dwelling investment.

The outlook remains highly uncertain.

While there are encouraging signs that inflation is moderating, the economic outlook remains uncertain. The December quarter national accounts data confirmed growth has slowed. Household consumption growth remains particularly weak amid high inflation and the rise in interest rates. After recent declines, real incomes have stabilised and are expected to grow from here, which is expected to support growth in consumption later in the year.

Meanwhile, growth in unit labour costs remains very high. It has begun to moderate slightly as measured productivity growth has picked up in the past two quarters but whether this trend will be sustained is uncertain.

The central forecasts are for inflation to return to the target range of 2–3 per cent in 2025, and to the midpoint in 2026. Services price inflation is expected to decline gradually as demand moderates and growth in labour and non-labour costs eases. Employment is expected to continue to grow moderately, and the unemployment rate and the broader underutilisation rate are expected to increase a bit further.

While there have been favourable signs on goods price inflation abroad, services price inflation has remained persistent and the same could occur in Australia. There also remains a high level of uncertainty around the outlook for the Chinese economy and the implications of the conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East. Domestically, there are uncertainties regarding the lags in the effect of monetary policy and how firms’ pricing decisions and wages will respond to the slower growth in the economy at a time of excess demand, and while the labour market remains tight. The outlook for household consumption also remains uncertain.

Returning inflation to target is the priority.

Returning inflation to target within a reasonable timeframe remains the Board’s highest priority. This is consistent with the RBA’s mandate for price stability and full employment. The Board needs to be confident that inflation is moving sustainably towards the target range. To date, medium-term inflation expectations have been consistent with the inflation target and it is important that this remains the case.

While recent data indicate that inflation is easing, it remains high. The Board expects that it will be some time yet before inflation is sustainably in the target range. The path of interest rates that will best ensure that inflation returns to target in a reasonable timeframe remains uncertain and the Board is not ruling anything in or out. The Board will rely upon the data and the evolving assessment of risks. The Board will continue to pay close attention to developments in the global economy, trends in domestic demand, and the outlook for inflation and the labour market. The Board remains resolute in its determination to return inflation to target.

RBA Media Release, February 2024

By Wellinvest
Wellinvest Update

Statement by the Reserve Bank Board: Monetary Policy Decision

At its meeting today, the Board decided to leave the cash rate target unchanged at 4.35 per cent and the interest rate paid on Exchange Settlement balances unchanged at 4.25 per cent.

Inflation continues to moderate but remains high.

Inflation continued to ease in the December quarter. Despite this progress, inflation remains high at 4.1 per cent. Goods price inflation was lower than the RBA’s November forecasts. It has continued to ease, reflecting the resolution of earlier global supply chain disruptions and a moderation in domestic demand for goods. Services price inflation, however, declined at a more gradual pace in line with the RBA’s earlier forecasts and remains high. This is consistent with continuing excess demand in the economy and strong domestic cost pressures, both for labour and non-labour inputs.

Higher interest rates are working to establish a more sustainable balance between aggregate demand and supply in the economy. Accordingly, conditions in the labour market continue to ease gradually, although they remain tighter than is consistent with sustained full employment and inflation at target. Wages growth has picked up but is not expected to increase much further and remains consistent with the inflation target, on the assumption that productivity growth increases to around its long-run average. Inflation is still weighing on people’s real incomes and household consumption growth is weak, as is dwelling investment.

The outlook is still highly uncertain.

While there are encouraging signs, the economic outlook is uncertain and the Board remains highly attentive to inflation risks. The central forecasts are for inflation to return to the target range of 2–3 per cent in 2025, and to the midpoint in 2026. Services price inflation is expected to decline gradually as demand moderates and growth in labour and non-labour costs eases. Employment is expected to continue to grow moderately and the unemployment rate and the broader underutilisation rate are expected to increase a bit further.

While there have been favourable signs on goods price inflation abroad, services price inflation has remained persistent and the same could occur in Australia. There also remains a high level of uncertainty around the outlook for the Chinese economy and the implications of the conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East. Domestically, there are uncertainties regarding the lags in the effect of monetary policy and how firms’ pricing decisions and wages will respond to the slower growth in the economy at a time of excess demand, and while the labour market remains tight. The outlook for household consumption also remains uncertain.

Returning inflation to target is the priority.

Returning inflation to target within a reasonable timeframe remains the Board’s highest priority. This is consistent with the RBA’s mandate for price stability and full employment. The Board needs to be confident that inflation is moving sustainably towards the target range. To date, medium-term inflation expectations have been consistent with the inflation target and it is important that this remains the case.

While recent data indicate that inflation is easing, it remains high. The Board expects that it will be some time yet before inflation is sustainably in the target range. The path of interest rates that will best ensure that inflation returns to target in a reasonable timeframe will depend upon the data and the evolving assessment of risks, and a further increase in interest rates cannot be ruled out. The Board will continue to pay close attention to developments in the global economy, trends in domestic demand, and the outlook for inflation and the labour market. The Board remains resolute in its determination to return inflation to target and will do what is necessary to achieve that outcome.

RBA Media Release, December 2023

By Wellinvest
Wellinvest Update

Statement by Michele Bullock, Governor: Monetary Policy Decision

At its meeting today, the Board decided to leave the cash rate target unchanged at 4.35 per cent and the interest rate paid on Exchange Settlement balances unchanged at 4.25 per cent.

Last month, the Board increased interest rates by 25 basis points, following a period of four months where it had held interest rates steady. This decision reflected the Board’s view that progress in bringing inflation back to the target range of 2 to 3 per cent was looking slower than earlier forecast. While the economy has been experiencing a period of below-trend growth, it was stronger than expected over the first half of the year. Underlying inflation was higher than expected at the time of the August forecasts, including across a broad range of services. Conditions in the labour market had eased but remained tight. Housing prices were continuing to rise across the country as was the number of new mortgages. Given this, the Board judged that the risk of inflation remaining higher for longer had risen and an increase in interest rates was therefore warranted to be more assured that inflation would return to target in a reasonable timeframe.

The limited information received on the domestic economy since the November meeting has been broadly in line with expectations. The monthly CPI indicator for October suggested that inflation is continuing to moderate, driven by the goods sector; the inflation update did not, however, provide much more information on services inflation. Overall, measures of inflation expectations remain consistent with the inflation target. Wages growth picked up in the September quarter but this was expected given that it captured the earlier Fair Work Commission decision on award wages. Wages growth is not expected to increase much further and remains consistent with the inflation target, provided productivity growth picks up. Conditions in the labour market also continued to ease gradually, although they remain tight.

Higher interest rates are working to establish a more sustainable balance between aggregate supply and demand in the economy. The impact of the more recent rate rises, including last month's, will continue to flow through the economy. High inflation is weighing on people’s real incomes and household consumption growth is weak, as is dwelling investment. Holding the cash rate steady at this meeting will allow time to assess the impact of the increases in interest rates on demand, inflation and the labour market.

Returning inflation to target within a reasonable timeframe remains the Board’s priority. High inflation makes life difficult for everyone and damages the functioning of the economy. It erodes the value of savings, hurts household budgets, makes it harder for businesses to plan and invest, and worsens income inequality. And if high inflation were to become entrenched in people’s expectations, it would be much more costly to reduce later, involving even higher interest rates and a larger rise in unemployment. To date, medium-term inflation expectations have been consistent with the inflation target and it is important that this remains the case.

There are still significant uncertainties around the outlook. While there have been encouraging signs on goods inflation abroad, services price inflation has remained persistent and the same could occur in Australia. There also remains a high level of uncertainty around the outlook for the Chinese economy and the implications of the conflicts abroad. Domestically, there are uncertainties regarding the lags in the effect of monetary policy and how firms’ pricing decisions and wages will respond to the slower growth in the economy at a time when the labour market remains tight. The outlook for household consumption also remains uncertain, with many households experiencing a painful squeeze on their finances, while some are benefiting from rising housing prices, substantial savings buffers and higher interest income.

Whether further tightening of monetary policy is required to ensure that inflation returns to target in a reasonable timeframe will depend upon the data and the evolving assessment of risks. In making its decisions, the Board will continue to pay close attention to developments in the global economy, trends in domestic demand, and the outlook for inflation and the labour market. The Board remains resolute in its determination to return inflation to target and will do what is necessary to achieve that outcome.

RBA Media Release, November 2023

By Wellinvest
Wellinvest Update

Statement by Michele Bullock, Governor: Monetary Policy Decision

At its meeting today, the Board decided to raise the cash rate target by 25 basis points to 4.35 per cent. It also increased the interest rate paid on Exchange Settlement balances by 25 basis points to 4.25 per cent.

Inflation in Australia has passed its peak but is still too high and is proving more persistent than expected a few months ago. The latest reading on CPI inflation indicates that while goods price inflation has eased further, the prices of many services are continuing to rise briskly. While the central forecast is for CPI inflation to continue to decline, progress looks to be slower than earlier expected. CPI inflation is now expected to be around 3½ per cent by the end of 2024 and at the top of the target range of 2 to 3 per cent by the end of 2025. The Board judged an increase in interest rates was warranted today to be more assured that inflation would return to target in a reasonable timeframe.

The Board had held interest rates steady since June following an increase of 4 percentage points since May last year. It had judged that higher interest rates were working to establish a more sustainable balance between supply and demand in the economy. Furthermore, it had noted that the impact of the more recent rate rises would continue to flow through the economy. It had therefore decided that it was appropriate to hold rates steady to provide time to assess the impact of the increase in interest rates so far. In particular, the Board had indicated that it would be paying close attention to developments in the global economy, trends in household spending, and the outlook for inflation and the labour market.

Since its August meeting, the Board has received updated information on inflation, the labour market, economic activity and the revised set of forecasts. The weight of this information suggests that the risk of inflation remaining higher for longer has increased. While the economy is experiencing a period of below-trend growth, it has been stronger than expected over the first half of the year. Underlying inflation was higher than expected at the time of the August forecasts, including across a broad range of services. Conditions in the labour market have eased but they remain tight. Housing prices are continuing to rise across the country.

At the same time, high inflation is weighing on people’s real incomes and household consumption growth is weak, as is dwelling investment. Given that the economy is forecast to grow below trend, employment is expected to grow slower than the labour force and the unemployment rate is expected to rise gradually to around 4¼ per cent. This is a more moderate increase than previously forecast. Wages growth has picked up over the past year but is still consistent with the inflation target, provided that productivity growth picks up.

Returning inflation to target within a reasonable timeframe remains the Board’s priority. High inflation makes life difficult for everyone and damages the functioning of the economy. It erodes the value of savings, hurts household budgets, makes it harder for businesses to plan and invest, and worsens income inequality. And if high inflation were to become entrenched in people’s expectations, it would be much more costly to reduce later, involving even higher interest rates and a larger rise in unemployment. To date, medium-term inflation expectations have been consistent with the inflation target and it is important that this remains the case.

There are still significant uncertainties around the outlook. Services price inflation has been surprisingly persistent overseas and the same could occur in Australia. There are uncertainties regarding the lags in the effect of monetary policy and how firms’ pricing decisions and wages will respond to the slower growth in the economy at a time when the labour market remains tight. The outlook for household consumption also remains uncertain, with many households experiencing a painful squeeze on their finances, while some are benefiting from rising housing prices, substantial savings buffers and higher interest income. And globally, there remains a high level of uncertainty around the outlook for the Chinese economy and the implications of the conflicts abroad.

Whether further tightening of monetary policy is required to ensure that inflation returns to target in a reasonable timeframe will depend upon the data and the evolving assessment of risks. In making its decisions, the Board will continue to pay close attention to developments in the global economy, trends in domestic demand, and the outlook for inflation and the labour market. The Board remains resolute in its determination to return inflation to target and will do what is necessary to achieve that outcome.

RBA Media Release, October 2023

By Wellinvest
Wellinvest Update

Statement by Michele Bullock, Governor: Monetary Policy Decision

At its meeting today, the Board decided to leave the cash rate target unchanged at 4.10 per cent and the interest rate paid on Exchange Settlement balances unchanged at 4.00 per cent.

Interest rates have been increased by 4 percentage points since May last year. The higher interest rates are working to establish a more sustainable balance between supply and demand in the economy and will continue to do so. In light of this and the uncertainty surrounding the economic outlook, the Board again decided to hold interest rates steady this month. This will provide further time to assess the impact of the increase in interest rates to date and the economic outlook.

Inflation in Australia has passed its peak but is still too high and will remain so for some time yet. Timely indicators on inflation suggest that goods price inflation has eased further, but the prices of many services are continuing to rise briskly and fuel prices have risen noticeably of late. Rent inflation also remains elevated. The central forecast is for CPI inflation to continue to decline and to be back within the 2–3 per cent target range in late 2025.

Growth in the Australian economy was a little stronger than expected over the first half of the year. But the economy is still experiencing a period of below-trend growth and this is expected to continue for a while. High inflation is weighing on people’s real incomes and household consumption growth is weak, as is dwelling investment. Notwithstanding this, conditions in the labour market remain tight, although they have eased a little. Given that the economy and employment are forecast to grow below trend, the unemployment rate is expected to rise gradually to around 4½ per cent late next year. Wages growth has picked up over the past year but is still consistent with the inflation target, provided that productivity growth picks up.

Returning inflation to target within a reasonable timeframe remains the Board’s priority. High inflation makes life difficult for everyone and damages the functioning of the economy. It erodes the value of savings, hurts household budgets, makes it harder for businesses to plan and invest, and worsens income inequality. And if high inflation were to become entrenched in people’s expectations, it would be very costly to reduce later, involving even higher interest rates and a larger rise in unemployment. To date, medium-term inflation expectations have been consistent with the inflation target and it is important that this remains the case.

The recent data are consistent with inflation returning to the 2–3 per cent target range over the forecast period and with output and employment continuing to grow. Inflation is coming down, the labour market remains strong and the economy is operating at a high level of capacity utilisation, although growth has slowed.

There are significant uncertainties around the outlook. Services price inflation has been surprisingly persistent overseas and the same could occur in Australia. There are also uncertainties regarding the lags in the effect of monetary policy and how firms’ pricing decisions and wages respond to the slower growth in the economy at a time when the labour market remains tight. The outlook for household consumption also remains uncertain, with many households experiencing a painful squeeze on their finances, while some are benefiting from rising housing prices, substantial savings buffers and higher interest income. And globally, there remains a high level of uncertainty around the outlook for the Chinese economy due to ongoing stresses in the property market.

Some further tightening of monetary policy may be required to ensure that inflation returns to target in a reasonable timeframe, but that will continue to depend upon the data and the evolving assessment of risks. In making its decisions, the Board will continue to pay close attention to developments in the global economy, trends in household spending, and the outlook for inflation and the labour market. The Board remains resolute in its determination to return inflation to target and will do what is necessary to achieve that outcome.

RBA Media Release, August 2023

By Wellinvest
Wellinvest Update

Statement by Philip Lowe, Governor: Monetary Policy Decision

At its meeting today, the Board decided to leave the cash rate target unchanged at 4.10 per cent and the interest rate paid on Exchange Settlement balances unchanged at 4.00 per cent.

Interest rates have been increased by 4 percentage points since May last year. The higher interest rates are working to establish a more sustainable balance between supply and demand in the economy and will continue to do so. In light of this and the uncertainty surrounding the economic outlook, the Board again decided to hold interest rates steady this month. This will provide further time to assess the impact of the increase in interest rates to date and the economic outlook.

Inflation in Australia is declining but is still too high at 6 per cent. Goods price inflation has eased, but the prices of many services are rising briskly. Rent inflation is also elevated. The central forecast is for CPI inflation to continue to decline, to be around 3¼ per cent by the end of 2024 and to be back within the 2–3 per cent target range in late 2025.

The Australian economy is experiencing a period of below-trend growth and this is expected to continue for a while. Household consumption growth is weak, as is dwelling investment. The central forecast is for GDP growth of around 1¾ per cent over 2024 and a little above 2 per cent over the following year.

Conditions in the labour market remain very tight, although they have eased a little. Job vacancies and advertisements are still at very high levels, although firms report that labour shortages have lessened. With the economy and employment forecast to grow below trend, the unemployment rate is expected to rise gradually from its current rate of 3½ per cent to around 4½ per cent late next year. Wages growth has picked up in response to the tight labour market and high inflation. At the aggregate level, wages growth is still consistent with the inflation target, provided that productivity growth picks up.

Returning inflation to target within a reasonable timeframe remains the Board’s priority. High inflation makes life difficult for everyone and damages the functioning of the economy. It erodes the value of savings, hurts household budgets, makes it harder for businesses to plan and invest, and worsens income inequality. And if high inflation were to become entrenched in people’s expectations, it would be very costly to reduce later, involving even higher interest rates and a larger rise in unemployment. To date, medium-term inflation expectations have been consistent with the inflation target and it is important that this remains the case.

The recent data are consistent with inflation returning to the 2–3 per cent target range over the forecast horizon and with output and employment continuing to grow. There are though significant uncertainties. Services price inflation has been surprisingly persistent overseas and the same could occur in Australia. There are also uncertainties regarding the lags in the operation of monetary policy and how firms’ pricing decisions and wages will respond to the slowing in the economy at a time when the labour market remains tight. The outlook for household consumption is also an ongoing source of uncertainty. Many households are experiencing a painful squeeze on their finances, while some are benefiting from rising housing prices, substantial savings buffers and higher interest income. In aggregate, consumption growth has slowed substantially due to the combination of cost-of-living pressures and higher interest rates.

Some further tightening of monetary policy may be required to ensure that inflation returns to target in a reasonable timeframe, but that will depend upon the data and the evolving assessment of risks. In making its decisions, the Board will continue to pay close attention to developments in the global economy, trends in household spending, and the outlook for inflation and the labour market. The Board remains resolute in its determination to return inflation to target and will do what is necessary to achieve that.

RBA Media Release, July 2023

By Wellinvest
Wellinvest Update

Statement by Philip Lowe, Governor: Monetary Policy Decision

At its meeting today, the Board decided to leave the cash rate target unchanged at 4.10 per cent and the interest rate paid on Exchange Settlement balances unchanged at 4.00 per cent.

Interest rates have been increased by 4 percentage points since May last year. The higher interest rates are working to establish a more sustainable balance between supply and demand in the economy and will continue to do so. In light of this and the uncertainty surrounding the economic outlook, the Board decided to hold interest rates steady this month. This will provide some time to assess the impact of the increase in interest rates to date and the economic outlook.

Inflation in Australia has passed its peak and the monthly CPI indicator for May showed a further decline. But inflation is still too high and will remain so for some time yet. High inflation makes life difficult for everyone and damages the functioning of the economy. It erodes the value of savings, hurts household budgets, makes it harder for businesses to plan and invest, and worsens income inequality. And if high inflation were to become entrenched in people’s expectations, it would be very costly to reduce later, involving even higher interest rates and a larger rise in unemployment. For these reasons, the Board’s priority is to return inflation to target within a reasonable timeframe.

Growth in the Australian economy has slowed and conditions in the labour market have eased, although they remain very tight. Firms report that labour shortages have lessened, yet job vacancies and advertisements are still at very high levels. Labour force participation is at a record high and the unemployment rate remains close to a 50-year low. Wages growth has picked up in response to the tight labour market and high inflation. At the aggregate level, wages growth is still consistent with the inflation target, provided that productivity growth picks up.

The Board remains alert to the risk that expectations of ongoing high inflation will contribute to larger increases in both prices and wages, especially given the limited spare capacity in the economy and the still very low rate of unemployment. Accordingly, it will continue to pay close attention to both the evolution of labour costs and the price-setting behaviour of firms.

The Board is still expecting the economy to grow as inflation returns to the 2–3 per cent target range, but the path to achieving this balance is a narrow one. A significant source of uncertainty continues to be the outlook for household consumption. The combination of higher interest rates and cost-of-living pressures is leading to a substantial slowing in household spending. While housing prices are rising again and some households have substantial savings buffers, others are experiencing a painful squeeze on their finances. There are also uncertainties regarding the global economy, which is expected to grow at a below-average rate over the next couple of years.

Some further tightening of monetary policy may be required to ensure that inflation returns to target in a reasonable timeframe, but that will depend upon how the economy and inflation evolve. The decision to hold interest rates steady this month provides the Board with more time to assess the state of the economy and the economic outlook and associated risks. In making its decisions, the Board will continue to pay close attention to developments in the global economy, trends in household spending, and the forecasts for inflation and the labour market. The Board remains resolute in its determination to return inflation to target and will do what is necessary to achieve that.

RBA Media Release, June 2023

By Wellinvest
Wellinvest Update

Statement by Philip Lowe, Governor: Monetary Policy Decision

At its meeting today, the Board decided to increase the cash rate target by 25 basis points to 4.10 per cent. It also increased the interest rate paid on Exchange Settlement balances by 25 basis points to 4.00 per cent.

Inflation in Australia has passed its peak, but at 7 per cent is still too high and it will be some time yet before it is back in the target range. This further increase in interest rates is to provide greater confidence that inflation will return to target within a reasonable timeframe.

High inflation makes life difficult for people and damages the functioning of the economy. It erodes the value of savings, hurts family budgets, makes it harder for businesses to plan and invest, and worsens income inequality. And if high inflation were to become entrenched in people’s expectations, it would be very costly to reduce later, involving even higher interest rates and a larger rise in unemployment. Recent data indicate that the upside risks to the inflation outlook have increased and the Board has responded to this. While goods price inflation is slowing, services price inflation is still very high and is proving to be very persistent overseas. Unit labour costs are also rising briskly, with productivity growth remaining subdued.

Growth in the Australian economy has slowed and conditions in the labour market have eased, although they remain very tight. The unemployment rate increased slightly to 3.7 per cent in April and employment growth has moderated. Firms report that labour shortages have eased, although job vacancies and advertisements are still at very high levels.

Wages growth has picked up in response to the tight labour market and high inflation. Growth in public sector wages is expected to pick up further and the annual increase in award wages was higher than it was last year. At the aggregate level, wages growth is still consistent with the inflation target, provided that productivity growth picks up.

The Board remains alert to the risk that expectations of ongoing high inflation contribute to larger increases in both prices and wages, especially given the limited spare capacity in the economy and the still very low rate of unemployment. Accordingly, it will continue to pay close attention to both the evolution of labour costs and the price-setting behaviour of firms.

The Board is still seeking to keep the economy on an even keel as inflation returns to the 2–3 per cent target range, but the path to achieving a soft landing remains a narrow one. A significant source of uncertainty continues to be the outlook for household consumption. The combination of higher interest rates and cost-of-living pressures is leading to a substantial slowing in household spending. Housing prices are rising again and some households have substantial savings buffers, although others are experiencing a painful squeeze on their finances. There are also uncertainties regarding the global economy, which is expected to grow at a below-average rate over the next couple of years.

Some further tightening of monetary policy may be required to ensure that inflation returns to target in a reasonable timeframe, but that will depend upon how the economy and inflation evolve. The Board will continue to pay close attention to developments in the global economy, trends in household spending, and the outlook for inflation and the labour market. The Board remains resolute in its determination to return inflation to target and will do what is necessary to achieve that.

RBA Media Release, May 2023

By Wellinvest
Wellinvest Update

Statement by Philip Lowe, Governor: Monetary Policy Decision

At its meeting today, the Board decided to increase the cash rate target by 25 basis points to 3.85 per cent. It also increased the rate paid on Exchange Settlement balances by 25 basis points to 3.75 per cent.

Inflation in Australia has passed its peak, but at 7 per cent is still too high and it will be some time yet before it is back in the target range. Given the importance of returning inflation to target within a reasonable timeframe, the Board judged that a further increase in interest rates was warranted today.

The Board held interest rates steady last month to provide additional time to assess the state of the economy and the outlook. While the recent data showed a welcome decline in inflation, the central forecast remains that it takes a couple of years before inflation returns to the top of the target range; inflation is expected to be 4½ per cent in 2023 and 3 per cent in mid-2025. Goods price inflation is clearly slowing due to a better balance of supply and demand following the resolution of the pandemic disruptions. But services price inflation is still very high and broadly based and the experience overseas points to upside risks. Unit labour costs are also rising briskly, with productivity growth remaining subdued.

The recent Australian data also confirmed that the labour market remains very tight, with the unemployment rate at a near 50-year low. Many firms continue to experience difficulty hiring workers, although there has been some easing in labour shortages and the number of vacancies has declined a little.

The Board’s priority remains to return inflation to target. High inflation makes life difficult for people and damages the functioning of the economy. And if high inflation were to become entrenched in people’s expectations, it would be very costly to reduce later, involving even higher interest rates and a larger rise in unemployment. Medium-term inflation expectations remain well anchored, and it is important that this remains the case. Today’s further adjustment in interest rates will help in this regard.

Wages growth has picked up in response to the tight labour market and high inflation. At the aggregate level, wages growth is still consistent with the inflation target, provided that productivity growth picks up. The Board remains alert to the risk that expectations of ongoing high inflation contribute to larger increases in both prices and wages, especially given the limited spare capacity in the economy and the historically low rate of unemployment. Accordingly, it will continue to pay close attention to both the evolution of labour costs and the price-setting behaviour of firms.

The Board is still seeking to keep the economy on an even keel as inflation returns to the 2–3 per cent target range, but the path to achieving a soft landing remains a narrow one. The central forecast is for the economy to continue growing, albeit at a below-trend pace; GDP is forecast to increase by 1¼ per cent this year and around 2 per cent over the year to mid-2025. Given the expected below-trend growth in the economy, the unemployment rate is forecast to increase gradually to be around 4½ per cent in mid-2025.

A significant source of uncertainty continues to be the outlook for household consumption. The combination of higher interest rates, cost-of-living pressures and the earlier decline in housing prices is leading to a substantial slowing in household spending. While some households have substantial savings buffers, others are experiencing a painful squeeze on their finances. There are also uncertainties regarding the global economy, which is expected to grow at a below-average rate over the next couple of years.

Some further tightening of monetary policy may be required to ensure that inflation returns to target in a reasonable timeframe, but that will depend upon how the economy and inflation evolve. The Board will continue to pay close attention to developments in the global economy, trends in household spending and the outlook for inflation and the labour market. The Board remains resolute in its determination to return inflation to target and will do what is necessary to achieve that.

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