Reserve Bank of Australia Expects To Keep Rates at Historic Lows

3 October 2021 | Updated: 3 October 2021

At its meeting next week, the Reserve Bank Australia will leave all monetary policy measures intact. That is, the cash rate will remain at 0.1 percent, as will the yield objective on the April 2024 bond. Asset acquisitions will continue to be made at a weekly rate of AUD 4 billion.

Policymakers will continue to warn of a downturn in the third quarter, but the government’s intention to open the border in November offers a ray of hope.

The August employment report was mixed. The unemployment rate fell -0.1 percentage point to 4.5% in August, better than the market’s consensus to rise to 4.9%. After +3.1K in July, the number of jobs unexpectedly dropped by -146.3K. The decline was mainly due to part-time work. The participation rate dropped -0.8 percentage point to 65.2%, which was lower than the 65.7% expected by the market.

Recall that the overall CPI jumped to +3.8% year-on-year, which is the highest level since the fourth quarter of 2008. Although inflation in the third quarter will only appear after the October meeting, ANZ Bank’s Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence Survey shows that inflation expectations have stabilized at +5.1%, while the historical reading is about 3.5%. Rising price pressures suppressed consumer confidence in some way, and consumer confidence fell -5.1 points to 104.5 in September.

Economic momentum may be derailed by the resurgence of the pandemic and the resulting restrictions. However, as the government plans to reopen the border to international travelers, it is expected to be back on track before the end of the year. We expect policymakers to give some positive views in this regard while warning about the recent slowdown.

Monetary Policy of Reserve Bank of Australia

The Reserve Bank of Australia is expected to maintain its monetary policy stance unchanged. In September, it reduced QE asset purchases from the previous 5B AUD per week to 4B AUD per week.

However, it will postpone its completion schedule from November 2021 to “at least mid-February 2022.” Therefore, this move is regarded as “a gradual decrease in doves.” Policymakers have also kept the cash interest rate unchanged at 0.1%, and guided that interest rates will not be raised until “actual inflation continues within the target range of 2% to 3%”.

This condition is unlikely to be achieved before 2024. We believe that global power inflation may be stronger and longer lasting than previously expected, especially since the recent energy crisis exacerbated this situation. If this situation continues, policymakers may revise their inflation outlook in the coming months to advance the time for the first-rate hike.

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Azeez Mustapha

Azeez Mustapha is a trading professional, currency analyst, signals strategist, and funds manager with over ten years of experience within the financial field. As a blogger and finance author, he helps investors understand complex financial concepts, improve their investing skills, and learn how to manage their money.