At its meeting today, the Board decided to leave the cash rate unchanged at 1.75 per cent.
The global economy is continuing to grow, at a lower than average pace. Several advanced economies have recorded improved conditions over the past year, but conditions have become more difficult for a number of emerging market economies. China’s growth rate moderated further in the first part of the year, though recent actions by Chinese policymakers are supporting the near-term outlook.
Commodity prices are above recent lows, but this follows very substantial declines over the past couple of years. Australia’s terms of trade remain much lower than they had been in recent years.
In financial markets, conditions have generally been calmer for the past several months following the period of volatility early in the year. Attention is now turning to some particular event risks. Funding costs for high-quality borrowers remain very low and, globally, monetary policy remains remarkably accommodative.
In Australia, recent data suggest overall growth is continuing, despite a very large decline in business investment. Other areas of domestic demand, as well as exports, have been expanding at a pace at or above trend. Labour market indicators have been more mixed of late, but are consistent with continued expansion of employment in the near term.
Inflation has been 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.
Low interest rates have been supporting domestic demand and the lower exchange rate overall is helping the traded sector. Over the past year, growth in credit to businesses has picked up, even as that to households has moderated a little. These factors are all assisting the economy to make the necessary economic adjustments, though an appreciating exchange rate could complicate this.
Indications are that the effects of supervisory measures have strengthened lending standards in the housing market. Separately, a number of lenders are also taking a more cautious attitude to lending in certain segments. Dwelling prices have begun to rise again recently. But considerable supply of apartments is scheduled to come on stream over the next couple of years, particularly in the eastern capital cities.
Taking account of the available information, and having eased monetary policy at its May meeting, the Board judged that holding the stance of policy unchanged at this meeting would be consistent with sustainable growth in the economy and inflation returning to target over time.
This is my personal view on subjects that interest me. It does not necessarily represent the firm’s view on those subjects – just mine!
25 May 2016. Like many of us I do not agree with the government’s position on superannuation as represented by the recent Budget proposals. In particular, I think the “lifetime cap” on non-concessional contributions of $500,000 is inconsistent with what many understood to be the prime objective of our superannuation – to encourage us to save to provide for our retirement and reduce the reliance on government pensions. For those nearing retirement and who had expected to be able to add to their super once they no longer had as many family expenses, the limit of $500,000 may well prevent them from building a sufficient balance to support their retirement. $500,000 will not last long for those fortunate enough to enjoy a life into their eighties and beyond. The relatively minor savings achieved by the lifetime cap will likely be dwarfed by the increase in government pension that results.
Statement by Glenn Stevens, Governor: Monetary Policy Decision
Date 3 May 2016
At its meeting today, the Board decided to lower the cash rate by 25 basis points to 1.75 per cent, effective 4 May 2016. This follows information showing inflationary pressures are lower than expected.
The global economy is continuing to grow, though at a slightly lower pace than earlier expected, with forecasts having been revised down a little further recently. While several advanced economies have recorded improved conditions over the past year, conditions have become more difficult for a number of emerging market economies. China’s growth rate moderated further in the first part of the year, though recent actions by Chinese policymakers are supporting the near-term outlook.
Commodity prices have firmed noticeably from recent lows, but this follows very substantial declines over the past couple of years. Australia’s terms of trade remain much lower than they had been in recent years.
Sentiment in financial markets has improved, after a period of heightened volatility early in the year. However, uncertainty about the global economic outlook and policy settings among the major jurisdictions continues. Funding costs for high-quality borrowers remain very low and, globally, monetary policy remains remarkably accommodative.
In Australia, the available information suggests that the economy is continuing to rebalance following the mining investment boom. GDP growth picked up over 2015, particularly in the second half of the year, and the labour market improved. Indications are that growth is continuing in 2016, though probably at a more moderate pace. Labour market indicators have been more mixed of late.
Inflation has been quite low for some time and recent data were unexpectedly low. While the quarterly data contain some temporary factors, these results, together with ongoing very subdued growth in labour costs and very low cost pressures elsewhere in the world, point to a lower outlook for inflation than previously forecast.
Monetary policy has been accommodative for quite some time. Low interest rates have been supporting demand and the lower exchange rate overall has helped the traded sector. Credit growth to households continues at a moderate pace, while that to businesses has picked up over the past year or so. These factors are all assisting the economy to make the necessary economic adjustments, though an appreciating exchange rate could complicate this.
In reaching today’s decision, the Board took careful note of developments in the housing market, where indications are that the effects of supervisory measures are strengthening lending standards and that price pressures have tended to abate. At present, the potential risks of lower interest rates in this area are less than they were a year ago.
Taking all these considerations into account, the Board judged that prospects for sustainable growth in the economy, with inflation returning to target over time, would be improved by easing monetary policy at this meeting.
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The Piatti Team