RBA will cut again in April for the same reason as March cut: Westpac's Bill Evans

RBA will cut again in April for the same reason as March cut: Westpac's Bill Evans
RBA will cut again in April for the same reason as March cut: Westpac's Bill Evans

EXPERT OBSERVER

As Westpac predicted yesterday, the Reserve Bank Board decided to lower the cash rate by 25 basis points to 0.50 per cent at its March meeting.

In discussing the reasons behind the decision, the Governor highlighted three themes that are all linked to the coronavirus.

Firstly, “In most economies, including the United States, there is an expectation of further monetary stimulus over coming months”.

Secondly, “the Australian Government has also indicated that it will assist areas of the economy most affected by the coronavirus”.

And finally “The uncertainty that it is creating is also likely to affect domestic spending. As a result, GDP growth in the March quarter is likely to be noticeably weaker than earlier expected”.

In fact, around two thirds of the statement  are devoted to the theme of the coronavirus, while the “usual themes” around unemployment; wages; and the housing market attract only limited attention with no real change from previous statements.

The final sentences of the statement are important: “It (the Board) will continue to monitor Developments closely and to assess the implications of the coronavirus for the economy. The Board is prepared to ease monetary policy further to support the Australian economy”.

With the virus impacting an economy that was already weak it was absolutely necessary to provide more support although the Reserve Bank does not recognise that risk in the Governor’s Statement.

Conclusion 

It has been Westpac’s forecast that the RBA will act again in April for much the same reasons that we have seen today – helping to assist the Australian economy to deal with the shocks associated with the virus; falling into line with other central banks’ stimulatory policies, particularly to ensure that the Australian dollar remains competitive and working in conjunction with the Australian Government to deal with the issues.

It seems that the coronavirus has brought the Government and the Reserve Bank together to address the risks with complementary policies. That “partnership” is unlikely to end with this single move by the RBA.

This article was first published on WestpacIQ

BILL EVANS is the chief economist at Westpac.

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Rba Rate Decision Bill Evans

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