RBA announces cash rate decision for March 2018
The Reserve Bank of Australia has announced its decision on the official cash rate for March following its monthly board meeting.
In line with expectations, the RBA has decided to keep the official cash rate on hold at 1.5 per cent for this month.
This marks the 18th consecutive month that the cash rate has been kept on hold since August 2016.
AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver said that high levels of business confidence, strong jobs growth and the RBA’s forecasts for stronger growth and inflation suggest that the RBA will eventually increase rates.
“[However], a continuation of very weak wages growth, sub-target inflation, the Australian dollar remaining too high and uncertainty around the outlook for consumer spending all argue for rates to remain on hold or even fall,” he said.
“So, on balance it makes sense to continue to leave interest rates on hold.”
St.George Bank senior economist Janu Chan said the next move is more than likely to be higher as the RBA sees progress towards employment and inflation goals.
“However, spare capacity still exists within the domestic economy and will therefore hold off from raising interest rates for some time,” said Ms Chan.
Australia is likely to see a flat year for interest rates with rates remaining on hold, according to Andrew Wilson, consultant and former Domain Group senior economist.
“After APRA regulations restricting availability of loans to investors, we actually saw rates for owner-occupier loans fall – the difference between owner-occupier and investor loans is now smaller than ever,” said Mr Wilson.
“APRA are starting to make noises that they are satisfied that the market has stabilised.”