Later today the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) will announce its April monetary policy decision. With markets and economists near unanimous in the view that rates will be left unchanged, all interest will yet again be on the accompanying monetary policy statement, particularly the language used towards the Australian dollar.
Here’s the state of play.
- Whether financial markets or economists, very few expect the RBA to cut interest rates today.
- Of the 24 economists polled by Bloomberg, all expect the cash rate to remain steady at 2.0%. Financial markets mirror this sentiment with cash rate futures putting the odds of a 0.25% rate cut at just 7%.
- With next to no expectation that the RBA will move rates, all attention will be on the wording of the accompanying monetary policy statement.
- The language towards the Australian dollar, in particular, will be closely scrutinised given the significant rally in the currency since mid-January.
- Since the board last met on March 1, the Australian dollar has risen 7% against the US dollar, outpacing a 4.4% increase in the trade-weighted index.
- In its March policy statement, the RBA noted that “the exchange rate has been adjusting to the evolving economic outlook”, a slight tweak on that used in February when the bank suggested “the exchange rate has continued its adjustment to the evolving economic outlook”.
- Outside of commentary on the currency, markets will be looking for any change in tone towards the labour market, residential property prices and the outlook for inflation.
- As for the final paragraph of the statement, most expect the RBA to maintain its soft easing bias, indicating that rates are still more likely to fall rather than rise in the period ahead. “Continued low inflation would provide scope for easier policy, should that be appropriate to lend support to demand,” read the RBA’s March statement.
The RBA rate decision and policy statement will be released at 2.30pm AEST.
Business Insider will have full coverage as soon as the announcement drops.