RBA makes cash rate call for August

The Reserve Bank of Australia has announced the decision of its monthly board meeting.

The RBA met industry expectations today, announcing its decision to hold the official interest rate at the record low of 1.5 per cent for August. The cash rate last moved in August 2016, shifting down to the current rate.

Most industry experts, including all 35 experts on the finder.com.au panel, correctly predicted a "hold" verdict.

LJ Hooker’s Mathew Tiller agreed, and was unsurprised at today’s announcement given that there had been “little discernible change” in economic indicators since last month’s RBA meeting.

ME’s John Caelli said that it made good sense for the RBA to keep rates on hold.

“With the high dollar, low inflation and low wage growth, there is no rush to put up rates just yet.”

Economist Saul Eslake said that the RBA would clearly prefer not to have to cut rates any further, but is also in no hurry to start raising them — even if central banks elsewhere in the world do.

“Economic data since the last board meeting showed more good data on employment and business conditions, offset by another quarter of very low inflation and softness in household spending, didn’t present a strong case to move in either direction,” said Mr Eslake.

Domain’s Andrew Wilson said that the RBA is clearly taking a more medium-term view of the macroeconomy, regardless of the current “insipid intransigence” of key economic performance indicators.

Equally, Mortgage Choice’s Jessica Darnbrough wasn’t surprised at today’s announcement.

“Last month the RBA made it clear that its current monetary policy setting is appropriate for the time being,” she said.

AMP’s Shane Oliver said that while growth was weaker than expected in the March quarter, recent data suggests it's back on track — thus reducing pressure to cut rates again.

CoreLogic’s Tim Lawless said that not only is he not surprised that the RBA left rates as is, but also thinks that rate increases in the short term are unlikely.

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