RBA likely to remain on hold out to 2020: Shane Oliver

RBA likely to remain on hold out to 2020: Shane Oliver
RBA likely to remain on hold out to 2020: Shane Oliver


As widely expected, the June RBA Board meeting saw it leave interest rates on hold for a record 20 meetings or 22 months. 

Yet again the RBA made little substantive changes to its post meeting Statement. While it saw recent Australian data as being consistent with its forecasts for growth to pick up to a bit above 3% there was no sense of urgency to move interest rates in response to this and while recent data does point to an acceleration in March quarter GDP growth (to be published tomorrow) there have been numerous growth spikes in Australia to around 1% quarter on quarter in recent years only to be followed by a cooling again and the RBA is not doubt aware of this tendency for the economy to run hot and cold.

On the housing market the RBA does not appear to be too fussed by the further fall in Sydney and Melbourne property prices or the further tightening in lending standards now underway. Its doubtful though that the further tightening in lending standards will be offset by a continuing decline in “the average mortgage interest rate on outstanding loans” as the RBA seems to be implying, as the latter is simply occurring as new borrowers have lower rates than borrowers from say five years ago whereas the tightening in lending standards around income and expenses will act to slow the number of new borrowers who can get into the housing market.

Overall, there was nothing in the RBA’s latest Statement to suggest an imminent change in monetary policy.

While the global backdrop (assuming no upset from trade wars, Trump or Italy), business conditions, non-mining investment and infrastructure activity are positive and will support growth, uncertainty remains around the outlook for consumer spending, household debt is high, banks are tightening lending standards, wage growth and inflation remain low and will pick only gradually and house prices are falling.

As a result, we remain of the view that the RBA is likely to remain on hold for a long time yet and we don’t see a rate hike until 2020 at the earliest. And given the weakness in home prices and the negative wealth effect that will flow from that its premature to rule out the next move in official rates being a cut.

SHANE OLIVER is head of investment strategy and economics and chief economist at AMP Capital and is responsible for AMP Capital's diversified investment funds.


Rba Rate Decision Shane Oliver

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