RBA won't start rising rates until 2020 and a cut can't be ruled out: Shane Oliver

RBA won't start rising rates until 2020 and a cut can't be ruled out: Shane Oliver
RBA won't start rising rates until 2020 and a cut can't be ruled out: Shane Oliver

EXPERT OBSERVER

While RBA Governor Lowe reiterated the mantra that the next move in interest rates is likely to be up, he also said any increase “still looks to be some time away” and indicated that to raise rates the RBA is looking for reduced labour market slack, faster wages growth and increased confidence inflation is picking up. At present there is no sign of reduced labour market slack and this is likely to continue to weigh on wages growth. 

We remain of the view that with trend growth likely to be remain subdued, bank lending standards tightening, Sydney and Melbourne house price falls having further go that the RBA won’t start raising rates to 2020 at the earliest and in the meantime the next move being a cut can’t be ruled out.

Australian data was back to being a bit on the softish side. Business confidence slipped a bit in May but remains solid, consumer confidence remains stuck around long term average levels, housing finance continued to slow in April with tighter bank lending standards pointing to more weakness to come and jobs data was a bit soft in May.

Employment growth was weaker than expected with full time jobs falling and while unemployment fell slightly this was because of a decline in participation. Meanwhile underemployment rose slightly over the last three months to 8.5% so total labour market underutilisation remains very high at 13.9%.

In Australia, ABS March quarter data is expected to confirm a 1% or so decline in home prices (Tuesday) consistent with already released private sector surveys and population growth data (Thursday) for 2017 is expected to show continued strength of around 1.6% year on year with Victoria the strongest on the back of high immigration levels and interstate migration. The minutes from the RBA’s last board meeting (Tuesday) are likely to confirm that the RBA remains comfortably on hold.

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.

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Interest Rates Shane Oliver

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