RBA likely to spare borrowers Christmas rates pain

The Reserve Bank of Australia will hold its final board meeting on for the year on Tuesday.

The Reserve Bank of Australia will hold its final board meeting on for the year on Tuesday. Photo: AAP

Interest rates are widely expected to remain on hold after the central bank’s final monetary policy meeting for the year.

Most experts are leaning towards no change to the official cash rate when Reserve Bank of Australia board members gather on Tuesday.

The central bank opted to lift interest rates another 25 basis points in November to 4.35 per cent, disrupting several months on hold.

The decision to lift interest rates followed a stronger month of data, including a firm quarterly inflation print.

And while the RBA has kept the door open to further tightening, few expect interest rates to rise again in December.

Four in five economists and experts queried by comparison site Finder said the cash rate would be left unchanged on Tuesday, though nearly half were tipping another increase in coming months.

Moody’s Analytics economist Harry Murphy Cruise said the lower-than-expected October inflation data, showing a moderation to 4.9 per cent from 5.6 per cent in September, underpins the case for interest rates to be unchanged in December.

“Combined with the monthly fall in retail sales through October, it is clear that higher interest rates are quelling demand and – by extension – inflation,” he said.

“That should be enough to save the Reserve Bank board from having to be the Grinch of Christmas when it meets next week.”

The board won’t meet again until February.

Meanwhile, economic growth numbers for the September quarter will be released on Wednesday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

In the June quarter, gross domestic product rose 0.4 per cent and 2.1 per cent year-on-year.

Westpac senior economist Andrew Hanlan said growth was “stuck in the slow lane” as still-high inflation and sharply rising interest rates weigh on the economy.

The bank’s economists expect quarterly growth of 0.4 per cent again in September, the same as in the March and June periods, and annual growth of 1.8 per cent.

Ahead of the national accounts, the ABS will release business indicators and lending data on Monday, and balance of payments and government finance state on Tuesday.

Other data due this week include the Melbourne Institute inflation gauge and ANZ job advertisement data, both of which will be released on Monday.

And on Friday, the RBA’s head of financial stability, Andrea Brischetto, will give a speech at the Bank and Financial Stability conference in Sydney.

Meanwhile, Wall Street rallied on Friday after US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell bolstered investor views that key policy interest rates have peaked, ahead of possible rate cuts next year.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 294.61 points, or 0.82 per cent, to 36,245.5, the S&P 500 gained 26.83 points, or 0.59 per cent, at 4,594.63 and the Nasdaq Composite added 78.81 points, or 0.55 per cent, at 14,305.03.

The optimism in the US market has set the scene for a stronger open in Australia on Monday, after a key index futures contract gained 65 points, or nearly one per cent, to 7154 on the weekend.

On Friday, the Australian share market closed slightly lower with the S&P/ASX200 index ending down 14.1 points, or 0.2 per cent, at 7,073.2.

The broader All Ordinaries fell 12.6 points, or 0.17 per cent, to 7,285.1.


Topics: RBA
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