RBA August rate cut to be a close call: finder.com.au

RBA August rate cut to be a close call: finder.com.au
RBA August rate cut to be a close call: finder.com.au

Market analysts are polarised about the the future direction of monetary policy, according to the finder.com.au comparison website survey. 

More than half of the experts (56 percent, or 23/41) in the finder.com.au Reserve Bank Survey, the largest of its kind in Australia, believe the Reserve Bank will slash the official cost of borrowing at today’s board meeting. In a strongly divided result, 44 percent (18/41) are predicting the cash rate will hold at 1.75 percent. 

However, of those who believe the cash rate will remain unchanged, the majority of these experts (16/18, 89 percent) are predicting a cash rate cut before the year is out. November is tipped as the month we can expect this.  

The majority of experts (58 percent) predict the cash rate will bottom-out at 1.50 percent this cycle. However, only two experts who weighed in on the cash rate cycle predict that it won’t fall lower than its current rate of 1.75 percent. 

Some experts are starting to consider the possibility of rates falling lower than 1.5 percent, with 18 percent predicting the cash rate to bottom-out at 1.25 percent. A further seven economists are predicting the rate to fall even lower this cycle, with Jordan Eliseo of ABC Bullion predicting the cash rate to hit 0.50 percent before it starts to rise, and Angus Raine of Raine & Horne predicting an eventual low of 0.25 percent.

Here’s what our RBA expert panel had to say:

Jordan Eliseo, ABC Bullion (Cut): "It's a close call but we think the RBA will cut next week - signifying their intention to arrest the decline in inflationary pressure, which is widespread across the economy today."

Shane Oliver, AMP Capital (Cut): "June quarter inflation data was not low enough to make an RBA rate cut certain, particularly given that recent economic data has been reasonably good. However, on balance we expect that the RBA will move again to help ensure that inflation expectations do not become entrenched below 2 percent as has been the case in several other countries, so that there is reasonable confidence that inflation will move back into the target zone in a reasonable time frame and to head off a rebound in the $A that will likely follow if it doesn’t cut again."

Dr John Hewson, ANU (Hold): "They will wait and see low inflation number confirmed."

Peter Munckton, Bank of Queensland (Hold): "The RBA are happy with current level of rates." 

Steven Pasas, Bank Of Sydney (Hold): "CPI came in higher than expected."

David Bassanese, BetaShares (Cut): "Annual underlying inflation has been confirmed as running 0.5 percent lower than the RBA expected 6 months ago."

Kishti Sen on behalf Richard Robinson, BIS Shrapnel (Hold): "No need to cut as economic growth is good, unemployment rate is stable and CPI likely to rise over next year as petrol prices rise. The RBA also needs to keep some policy bullets up its sleeve for when economy slows in the wake of coming residential downturn." 

Michael Blythe, CBA (Cut): "Low inflation."

Dr Andrew Wilson, Domain Group (Hold): "Inflation low but steady and other economic indicators slightly more positive recently  - will likely keep powder dry but still a solid case for a cut."

Scott Morgan, Greater Bank (Hold): "The evidence for a rate cut is not compelling enough at this stage. A rate change is unlikely to fix the factors influencing low inflation. In some respects, low inflation is a global issue. To pull the trigger on a rate cut now is wasted ammunition." 

Dr Mark Brimble, Griffith University (Cut): "With inflation remained well below the RBA's target range, a building range of head winds (including the expected large scale job losses from heavy manufacturing next year and a stubborn currency) together with APRA's intervention in the credit markets beginning to impact, the RBA has a close call to make, but is likely to want to get ahead of the market and cut rates to offer further support to the economy."

Atul Narang, HashChing (Cut): "The annual inflation is at just 1 percent, the weakest annual rise since 1999. It is well below RBA's target range of 2-3 percent so there is a strong chance of a rate cut. RBA's expectation that underlying inflation will be below 2-3 percent range until mid 2018 is based on the assumption that interest rates would fall to 1.5 percent." 

Peter Haller, Heritage Bank (Hold): "The inflation rate is sufficiently high to permit the RBA to stay on hold for now." 

Shane Garrett, HIA (Cut): "Inflation is at a low level, giving the RBA more room for flexibility on rates." 

Paul Bloxham, HSBC (Cut): "Inflation is too low." 

Alex Joiner, IFM Investors (Cut): "Inflation remains consistent with further easing, the question of timing is still open and the RBA may choose to delay until later in the year given the growth outlook has not deteriorated materially as yet." 

Robert Montgomery, Infrastructure Partnerships Australia (Cut): "The RBA will be hesitant to push the cash rate lower than it already is, however the June quarter inflation figures are well below the RBA’s target band of 2-3 percent, making an August rate cut likely." 

Michael Witts, ING Direct (Cut): "The inflation print and the slightly weaker domestic economy together with the higher AUD provides scope for the RBA to adjust the cash rate."

Leanne Pilkington, Laing+Simmons (Cut): "It’s a line-ball decision that really could go either way. In the end, with inflation at its weakest in nearly 20 years, we believe the RBA will move to drop the cash rate." 

Nicholas Gruen, Lateral Economics (Hold): "It's consistent with its previous hesitancy to cut even in the presence of its own forecasts of inadequate growth." 

Lynne Jordan, Liberty (Cut): "The Reserve Bank’s cash rate decision hinges on inflation, housing and labour market data – and, unfortunately, these indicators are just not leaning in the right direction to constitute a hold. The labour market has lost momentum, low wage growth is impacting consumer spending and, just this week, we’ve seen another disappointing report on inflation. RBA action and a rate cut to a new record low, is definitely on the cards in the not too distant future."

Grant Harrod, LJ Hooker (Cut): "The growth of house prices is moderating.  Added to this, inflation is at very low levels and concerns around the global economy should see the RBA cut the cash rate at its August meeting."

Stephen Koukoulas, Market Economics (Cut): "Low inflation and unemployment is too high."

John Caelli, ME (Cut): "Employment data remains soft and inflation remains well below the 2-3% desired band. The Australian dollar is also stronger than what the RBA would like."

Mark Crosby, Melbourne Business School (Hold): "While local inflation remains low the strongest driver of rate changes should remain changes to major central bank settings in coming months."

Emily Dabbs, Moody's Analytics (Cut): "Inflation data for the June quarter indicates that price pressures remain weak. The RBA preferred measure of inflation remains below its 2 percent to 3 percent target range." 

Jessica Darnbrough, Mortgage Choice (Cut): "The latest inflation data was in line with expectations, but low by historical standards. I believe this will provide the Reserve Bank with the incentive they need to cut the cash rate for the second time this year."

Christopher Schade, MyState Bank (Hold): "Economic data has if anything been a little stronger than expected in recent times and overall activity remains OK. While inflation remains low, the labour market appears to be holding up well as does the housing market. These were the three key variables called out by the RBA as most important for their next rate decision in the minutes of the July Board meeting. On balance, these variables suggest the RBA will leave rates on hold, but retain an easing bias as it takes further time to see how the economy develops. That said, it will be a close call." 

Saul Eslake, Economist (Hold): "Because Q2 inflation wasn't materially lower than the RBA had anticipated when it revised its forecasts after the Q1 result (the revision which prompted the most recent rate cut in May), and because other data released since the July Board meeting haven't warranted any downward revisions to the RBA's assessment of the outlook for economic growth. There are downside risks to the outlook for growth and inflation, but the RBA would be better advised holding what "firepower" it still has for a time when the case for using it is stronger."

Alan Oster, Nab (Hold): "It’s line ball decision but the economy in non mining is still doing well as is the labour market.  Inflation remains low but no urgency to cut unlike May."

Jonathan Chancellor, Property Observer (Hold): "The RBA likes to set its own agenda, not follow the herd mentality."

Matthew Peter, QIC (Cut): "The Q2 inflation outturn is consistent with RBA forecasts, which sees inflation remaining below the target band for an extended period. Risks around the flow-on effect of BREXIT, potential slowdown in China, threat to international trade agreements and geopolitical risks pose sufficient reasons for the RBA to cut."

Noel Whittaker , QUT (Hold): "No urgent need to drop."

Angus Raine, Raine & Horne (Hold): "The recent Federal election wait and see approach."

Ken, Sayer (Hold): "We expect a drop in Sep 2016." 

Christine Williams, Smarter Property Investing Pty Ltd (Hold): "Stable employment market, confirmation of government, and stabilised growth in the overall Australian market." 

Janu Chan, St.George Bank (Hold): "Inflation is very low, but it is in line with expectations. If they wanted to follow up the May rate cut with another, they would have done so in June or provided a stronger indication that they were close to cutting. The low inflation outlook keeps alive the chances of a rate cut this year, but given recent RBA commentary, they do not seem to be in a position to lower rates just yet." 

Steven Milch, Suncorp (Cut): "Persistently below target inflation."

Scott Haslem, UBS (Cut): "The issue for the RBA is whether Q2's 'in line' inflation is low enough to out-work the 'implied' 25bp cut in their May SoMP forecasts, or whether the post-UK-leave resilience of both financial markets & global confidence, and the strong dataflow in the US & domestically, leaves the RBA drifting away from their clearer easing bias at the July meeting, back to their 'neutral' post May cut stance. On balance, we believe Q2's CPI is enough to get the RBA across the line for a (final) cut in August, but the lack of downward surprise, & better recent data, makes this a close call."

Nicki Hutley, Urbis (Cut): "Inflation is significantly below the Bank's target."

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