“The board expects that further tightening of monetary policy will be needed to ensure that inflation returns to target and that this period of high inflation is only temporary. In assessing when and how much further interest rates need to increase, the board will be paying close attention to developments in the global economy, trends in household spending and the outlook for inflation and the labour market,” Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe said in a statement.
The Reserve Bank of Australia has raised the key interest rate by 25 basis points (bps) to 3.60 per cent. This is the tenth rate hike by the bank in a row. It has also increased the interest rate on Exchange Settlement balances by 25 basis points to 3.50 per cent. The monthly CPI indicator suggests that inflation has peaked in the country.
Goods price inflation is expected to moderate over the months ahead due to both global developments and softer demand in Australia. The central forecast is for inflation to decline this year and next, to be around 3 per cent in mid-2025. Medium-term inflation expectations remain well anchored, and it is important that this remains the case.
Growth in the Australian economy has slowed, with GDP increasing by 0.5 per cent in the December quarter and 2.7 per cent over the year. Growth over the next couple of years is expected to be below trend.
The labour market remains very tight, although conditions have eased a little. The unemployment rate remains at close to a 50-year low. Employment fell in January, but this partly reflects changing seasonal patterns in labour hiring. As economic growth slows, unemployment is expected to increase. Wages growth is continuing to pick up in response to the tight labour market and higher inflation. At the aggregate level, wages growth is still consistent with the inflation target and recent data suggest a lower risk of a cycle in which prices and wages chase one another, the statement added.
Global inflation remains very high. In headline terms it is moderating, although services price inflation remains elevated in many economies. It will be some time before inflation is back to target rates. The outlook for the global economy remains subdued, with below average growth expected this year and next.
Fibre2Fashion News Desk (KD)