RBA reveals February cash rate call
The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has announced its decision on the official cash rate for February amid speculation the central bank will hold rates.
Following today’s announcement, the official cash rate is 0.75 of a percentage point, with the board deciding to hold interest rates for the time being.
Top market and economic experts were not surprised by today’s announcement, although they believe further easing is coming.
In the lead-up to today’s decision, comparison site Finder had surveyed 39 of the nation’s leading economists and commentators, and found a majority expecting a rate cut by May this year.
Nicholas Gruen, CEO of Lateral Economics, said: “I expect the bank will hold. With latest employment data, it is unlikely to cut. But I expect growth to continue sluggishly, so there may be a cut or two down the track.”
Highlighting stronger labour data, Sarah Hunter, chief economist at BIS Oxford Economics, believes the central bank would hold off cutting until later in the year.
“The recent labour market data has been more positive than we anticipated, so we’ve pushed back our call for one final rate cut to Q2 2020,” she said.
“But the forward indicators for jobs growth have continued to weaken (and the impact of the bushfires is a further downside risk), which means we still expect the RBA to cut one more time in this loosening cycle.”
If rates are cut before May, the official cash rate will be just one cut from the point where the RBA would consider instituting a quantitative easing program.