Australia Leaves Interest Rates On Hold


Australia leaves interest rates on hold

SYDNEY, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News -6th Sept,2016) - Australia's central bank Tuesday held interest rates steady at a record low of 1.50 percent, as it waits for more information on inflation pressures before signalling its next move.

Rates have been cut twice in the past four months, including by 25 basis points in August, in a bid to boost sluggish inflation as the economy transitions towards non-resources growth after a mining investment boom.

Official figures in July showed inflation fell to a 17-year low of 1.0 percent in April-June, well off the RBA's target of 2.0-3.0 percent. Last month's rate cut is expected to take some time to feed through to possibly pushing up consumer prices, with the RBA's own forecasts in May expecting inflation to only lift towards the target band in late 2017 or in 2018.

Most economists expected the central bank to hold fire to see what impact the earlier cuts were having and outgoing RBA governor Glenn Stevens said the current cash rate was appropriate.

"Having eased monetary policy at its May and August meetings, the board judged that holding the stance of policy unchanged at this meeting would be consistent with sustainable growth in the economy and achieving the inflation target over time," he said.

Stevens, in his last statement as governor before handing over to his deputy Philip Lowe, added that "inflation remains quite low". "Given very subdued growth in labour costs and very low cost pressures elsewhere in the world, this is expected to remain the case for some time," he said.

Australia has been growing more strongly than most of the world's advanced economies but like many countries is struggling to kickstart inflation, with oil prices subdued and global trade tepid. The Australian Dollar, which moved slightly higher in the lead up to the announcement, was steady immediately after the decision at 76.22 US cents.