More economists are paring back their expectation of an RBA hike this year. Macquarie Bank now no longer sees RBA hiking within 2018. it noted in a report that “the primary reason for pushing back our RBA call is that the Bank can err on the side of growing the economy faster for longer to erode spare capacity and have confidence that inflation is firmly moving back into the 2-3% target.” .
It referred to other advanced economies for the pattern of falling unemployment rates without wage growth. At this same time, “Australia’s unemployment rate remains at 5.5% and noticeably above ‘full employment’.” Also, “after two years of below-target inflation, and at least another one to come, there seems little danger of generating a meaningful pick-up in inflation expectations from keeping interest rates low for longer.”
Besides, “housing has settled”, and “investor activity in the housing market has subsided significantly and housing prices have broadly flattened out. There is “little danger” or “reacceleration in housing price or credit growth.” And therefore, “the source of much angst for the RBA — fast growth in housing prices in Sydney and Melbourne – has eased.”
NAB recently pushed back their RBA rate expectation too and predicted only one hike this year, not two. Westpac continued to expect no hike until 2019.