No need for Cup Day rate cut: Shadow RBA board

No need for Cup Day rate cut: Shadow RBA board
No need for Cup Day rate cut: Shadow RBA board

The RBA Shadow Board is preferring to keep the cash rate on hold ahead of today's monthly RBA meeting and has rated the chance of hold at 65%.

According to the Shadow Board, Australian headline inflation, benefiting from exceptionally low energy prices, equals 1.5% (year-on-year) for a second quarter in a row, well below the RBA’s target band of 2-3%, while economic growth and the unemployment rate continue to underwhelm.

"The global economy looks weak and financial markets are nervous. The RBA Board lowered the official cash rate from 2.25 % to 2.0 % in May. However, Australia’s four major banks have all increased interest rates in the past month due to tougher prudential standards, prompting markets to factor in a 60% chance of another official rate cut as early as this week," the Shadow Board recently noted.

"The CAMA RBA Shadow Board on balance prefers to keep the cash rate on hold, attaching a 65% probability to this being the appropriate policy setting. The confidence attached to a required rate cut equals 26%, up twelve percentage points from the previous month, while the confidence in a required rate hike has fallen to 9%. So, while the overall sentiment is one of holding rates steady, the balance of risks has shifted down.

"Australia’s unemployment rate remains at 6.2%, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Worryingly, employment has fallen, in particular full time employment (-13,900 in September), and the participation rate, now equal to 64.86%, continues to decline.

"The Aussie dollar appears to have found a floor at the 70 US¢ mark, with the currency trading as high 72.5 US¢ in recent days. This likely reflects a reaction to the US Federal Reserve’s continued delay of lifting its federal funds rate target. This year’s depreciation of the Aussie dollar has not led to an improvement in the balance of trade. On the contrary, in August the balance of trade was $-3.095 billion, compared to $-1.277 billion at the beginning of this year, suggestive of a J-curve effect, whereby supply and demand elasticities respond to a currency depreciation with a delay. Yields on Australian 10-year government bonds have edged down further to 2.58%.

"The Australian property market looks like weakening, with the construction PMI, building permits and new home sales falling. The S&P/ASX200 has rebounded from last month’s lows below 5000. With heightened uncertainty about the Australian and global economic outlook, the stock index may well trade sideways for some time.

"Considerable attention is given to the US Federal Reserve Bank’s global outlook and its policy decisions. An increase in the federal funds rate was highly anticipated until the middle of this year but then delayed in light of weak global economic data. This week’s Fed statement sounds more bullish again even though the latest US economic data is not as strong as expected. There remain divisions within the Federal Reserve Bank Board about when to lift rates. Europe’s problems are not lessening: the refugee crisis will strain government budgets while the Greek debt crisis is only enjoying a brief hiatus. China’s economy still looks shaky and growth is likely to be remain relatively soft, with most economists expecting a target growth rate of 6.5% for the newly adopted five-year economic plan.

"Consumer and producer sentiment measures continue to yoyo around without a clear trend. After successive drops, the Westpac/Melbourne Institute Consumer Sentiment Index rose to 97.8 in October from 93.9 in September. Business confidence, according to the NAB business survey slid further, rebounded from 1 to 5. The AIG manufacturing and services indices, both leading economic indicators, contradict each other.

"The Shadow Board’s confidence that the cash rate should remain at its current level dropped from 72% in October to 65%. The confidence that a rate cut is appropriate has increased substantially to 26%, from 14% in the previous month; conversely, the confidence that a rate increase, to 2.25% or higher, is necessary has fallen to 9% (14% in October).

"The probabilities at longer horizons are as follows: 6 months out, the estimated probability that the cash rate should remain at 2% is nearly unchanged at 24% (25% in October). The estimated need for an interest rate increase has dropped further, to 58% (62% in October), while the need for a rate decrease has risen to 19% (13% in October). A year out, the Shadow Board members’ confidence that the cash rate should be held steady is unchanged at 18%, while the confidence in a required cash rate increase equals 67% (68% in October) and in a required cash rate decrease 15% (14% in October)."

To see the report in full, click here.

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