Source link – Reserve Bank of Australia

At its meeting today, the Board decided to:

  • maintain the cash rate target at 10 basis points and the interest rate on Exchange Settlement
    balances of zero per cent
  • maintain the target of 10 basis points for the April 2024 Australian Government bond
  • purchase government securities at the rate of $4 billion a week and to continue the purchases at
    this rate until at least mid February 2022.

Prior to the Delta outbreak the Australian economy had considerable momentum. GDP increased by
0.7 per cent in the June quarter and by nearly 10 per cent over the year. Business
investment was picking up and the labour market had strengthened. The unemployment rate had fallen below
5 per cent and job vacancies were at a high level.

The recovery in the Australian economy has, however, been interrupted by the Delta outbreak and the
associated restrictions on activity. GDP is expected to decline materially in the September quarter and
the unemployment rate will move higher over coming months. While the outbreak is affecting most parts of
the economy, the impact is uneven, with some areas facing very difficult conditions while others are
continuing to grow strongly.

This setback to the economic expansion is expected to be only temporary. The Delta outbreak is expected to
delay, but not derail, the recovery. As vaccination rates increase further and restrictions are eased,
the economy should bounce back. There is, however, uncertainty about the timing and pace of this
bounce-back and it is likely to be slower than that earlier in the year. Much will depend on the health
situation and the easing of restrictions on activity. In our central scenario, the economy will be
growing again in the December quarter and is expected to be back around its pre-Delta path in the second
half of next year.

Notwithstanding the strong economic and labour market outcomes pre-Delta, wage and price pressures remain
subdued. Over the year to the June quarter, the Wage Price Index increased by just
1.7 per cent.

Housing prices are continuing to rise, although turnover in some markets has declined following the virus
outbreak. Housing credit growth has picked up due to stronger demand for credit by both owner-occupiers
and investors. Given the environment of rising housing prices and low interest rates, the Bank is
monitoring trends in housing borrowing carefully and it is important that lending standards are
maintained.

Very accommodative financial conditions will continue to support the recovery of the Australian economy.
Borrowing rates are at record lows, sovereign bond yields are at very low levels and the exchange rate
has depreciated over recent months. The fiscal responses by the Australian Government and the state and
territory governments are also providing welcome assistance in supporting household and business balance
sheets.

The Board’s decision to extend the bond purchases at $4 billion a week until at least February
2022 reflects the delay in the economic recovery and the increased uncertainty associated with the Delta
outbreak. The Board will continue to review the bond purchase program in light of economic conditions and
the health situation, and their implications for the expected progress towards full employment and the
inflation target. These bond purchases, together with the low level of the cash rate, the yield target
and the funding that has been provided under the Term Funding Facility, are providing substantial and
ongoing support to the Australian economy.

The Board is committed to maintaining highly supportive monetary conditions to achieve a return to full
employment in Australia and inflation consistent with the target. It will not increase the cash rate
until actual inflation is sustainably within the 2 to 3 per cent target range. The central
scenario for the economy is that this condition will not be met before 2024. Meeting this condition will
require the labour market to be tight enough to generate wages growth that is materially higher than it
is currently.



Source link – Reserve Bank of Australia