RBA keeps cash rate on hold.
At its August Board meeting, the RBA has left its policy settings unchanged, this includes holding the cash rate at 0.25%.
In a statement accompanying the decision, RBA Governor Philip Lowe said –
The global economy is experiencing a severe contraction as countries seek to contain the coronavirus. Even though the worst of this contraction has now passed, the outlook remains highly uncertain. The recovery is expected to be only gradual and its shape is dependent on containment of the virus.
The Bank’s mid-March package of support for the Australian economy is working as expected. There is a very high level of liquidity in the Australian financial system and borrowing rates are at historical lows.
Government bond markets are functioning normally alongside a significant increase in issuance. The yield on 3-year Australian Government Securities (AGS) has been consistent with the target of around 25 basis points. The yield has, however, been a little higher than 25 basis points over recent weeks. Given this, tomorrow the Bank will purchase AGS in the secondary market to ensure that the yield on 3-year bonds remains consistent with the target.
The Australian economy is going through a very difficult period and is experiencing the biggest contraction since the 1930s. As difficult as this is, the downturn is not as severe as earlier expected and a recovery is now underway in most of Australia. This recovery is, however, likely to be both uneven and bumpy, with the coronavirus outbreak in Victoria having a major effect on the Victorian economy.
Given the uncertainties about the overall outlook, the Board considered a range of scenarios at its meeting. In the baseline scenario, output falls by 6 per cent over 2020 and then grows by 5 per cent over the following year. In this scenario, the unemployment rate rises to around 10 per cent later in 2020 due to further job losses in Victoria and more people elsewhere in Australia looking for jobs. Over the following couple of years, the unemployment rate is expected to decline gradually to around 7 per cent.
The Board is committed to do what it can to support jobs, incomes and businesses in Australia. Its actions are keeping funding costs low and assisting with the supply of credit to households and businesses. This accommodative approach will be maintained as long as it is required. The Board will not increase the cash rate target until progress is being made towards full employment and it is confident that inflation will be sustainably within the 2–3 per cent target band.
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