Tuesday, 14 August, 2018

Australia is younger and better off: RBA governor defends immigration rate

GBP to AUD 4 Hour Reserve Bank governor says Australia's high immigration levels boosted economy
Russell Knight | 10 August, 2018, 11:15

Australia's population surpassed the 25million milestone at 11pm on Tuesday, just two-and-half years after overtaking the 24million yardstick. The Reserve Bank is expected to keep the official cash rate at a 1.75 per cent but its forecasts on growth, inflation and interest rates will be closely watched. The kiwi dollar drifted lower overnight and "we doubt it will have enough momentum to break through those levels today (unless the RBA dramatically surprise), with markets waiting for direction from the RBNZ later this week".

The RBA last cut the cash rate to its record low of 1.5 per cent in August 2016, after an earlier cut to 1.75 per cent in May.

See live rates for the NZ-US $ below.

Trade tensions between the USA and China have weighed on currency markets for several months.

The bank will have more on its forecasts in Friday's third Statement of Monetary policy for 2018 but the statement yesterday indicates that apart from inflation there won't be too much of a change. Weston said the kiwi dipped because the "market expected a slightly more downbeat assessment but that didn't happen". The GDP for 2018 and 2019 is expected to average slightly above 3 per cent.

"The most recent Quarterly Business Survey from the National Australia Bank found that favourable business conditions continue and point to business investment growth". A further gradual decline in the unemployment rate is expected over the next couple of years to around 5 per cent. Wages growth remains low. Lowe amended his language on China's economy in his accompanying statement, saying growth "has slowed a little", instead of growing solidly. "This is likely to continue for a while yet, although the improvement in the economy should see some lift in wages growth over time".

'The central forecast is for inflation to be higher in 2019 and 2020 than it is now'.

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The AUD/USD rate was quoted 0.14% lower at 0.7415 Wednesday and the Pound-to-Australian-Dollar rate was also down 0.15% at 1.7407. This is largely due to reduced demand by investors as the dynamics of the housing market have changed.

The domestic case for a hike has also been weakened by a sharp slowdown in the once red-hot housing market in Sydney and Melbourne.

Dr Lowe said the RBA needed "to keep a close eye on the housing market and housing finance" but added it was helpful the change was taking place at a time when the unemployment rate is trending lower and the economy is recording good growth.

ANZ's Quick Reaction Australia release stated that the tone of the RBA's release remained positive.

The Australian Dollar (AUD) has firmed against the US Dollar (USD) today, rising to a level of $0.74 on the interbank exchange rate. This is also a factor for future interest rates, as the Reserve Bank of Australia has struggled to raise rates in the face of declining house prices.

While Lowe said "one-off declines in some administered prices in the September quarter are expected to result in headline inflation in 2018 being a little lower than earlier expected", the RBA still expects inflation to be higher in 2019 and 2020 than it is now.

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