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RBA holds rates steady, maintains hawkish bias

In what was Michelle Bullock’s inaugural meeting as Governor, RBA opted to maintain its cash rate target at 4.10%, aligning with broad market expectations. The central bank’s statement carried a hawkish tone, noting that “some further tightening of monetary policy may be required. The exact course of such adjustments, however, would be determined by “the data and the evolving assessment of risks.”

While RBA acknowledged that inflation had passed its pinnacle, the levels remain uncomfortably elevated. It observed a decline in goods price inflation but pointed out the brisk rise in service prices, as well as notable increases in fuel and rent prices.

The central bank projects a gradual return of CPI inflation to its 2-3% target range by the end of 2025. This aligns with their prediction of sustained below-trend growth for the economy, expecting this trend to persist. Consequently, they anticipate the unemployment rate to inch up, reaching approximately 4.5% towards the end of the following year.

Outlook is shrouded in “significant uncertainties.” These encompass variables like service price inflation, delays in monetary policy transmission monetary policy, and businesses’ reactions in terms of pricing and wages. Consumer behavior, particularly household consumption patterns, also remains an unpredictable factor.

On a global scale, RBA expressed concerns over China’s economy, especially given the prevalent disturbances in its property market.

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