Thursday, 27 June 2019

Australia central bank holds rates with inflation soft

AFP

SYDNEY: Australia’s central bank held interest rates at a record low on Tuesday even as the economy grows strongly, with officials taking into account soft inflation figures and weak wages growth.

The cash rate has been unchanged at 1.50 percent since the Reserve Bank of Australia last cut it in August 2016, to support non-mining industries as an unprecedented investment in resources waned.

“The low level of interest rates is continuing to support the Australian economy,” RBA governor Philip Lowe said in a statement after the monthly board meeting.

“The board judged that holding the stance of monetary policy unchanged at this meeting would be consistent with sustainable growth in the economy and achieving the inflation target over time.”

The economy expanded 0.9 percent in the March-June quarter, following 0.7 percent growth in the previous three months, supported by increasing exports, and consumer and government spending.

It took the annual rate of growth to 3.4 percent — the fastest since September 2012.

The RBA acknowledged the strong figures but said the outlook for household spending remained a “continuing source of uncertainty”, while the growth in wages — which would help to lift inflation — remained slow.

“Growth in household income remains low and debt levels are high,” Lowe said.

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