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RBA left interest rates on hold

The Reserve Bank of Australia has left the cash rate at a record-low 1.5 per cent, as sluggish wage growth and inflation put the board in a holding pattern for the 17th meeting in a row. Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe used the word "gradual" to describe Australia's economic recovery three times in his short statement on monetary policy on Tuesday, indicating the bank is in no rush to raise interest rates from their historic lows.

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RBA does not indicate change in monetary policy

Early morning session brought RBA Meeting Minutes. Over 2017, progress had been made in reducing the unemployment rate and bringing inflation closer to target. The low level of interest rates was continuing to play a role in achieving this outcome. Further progress on these goals was expected over the period ahead but the increase in inflation was likely to occur only gradually as the economy strengthened; the Bank's central forecast for the Australian economy was for GDP growth to pick up to average a little above 3 per cent over the next two years and for CPI inflation to be a little above 2 per cent in 2018.

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RBA left interest rates unchanged

According to the the latest RBA statement the Board decided to leave the cash rate unchanged at 1.50 per cent. There was a broad-based pick-up in the global economy in 2017. A number of advanced economies are growing at an above-trend rate and unemployment rates are low. Growth has also picked up in the Asian economies, partly supported by increased international trade. The Chinese economy continues to grow solidly, with the authorities paying increased attention to the risks in the financial sector and the sustainability of growth.

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ANZ forecasts an interest rate hike in May

Next Wednesday’s CPI report is likely to show inflationary pressures in the Australian economy have stabilised, ANZ says. And that means the bank is sticking to its view that the RBA is on track to raise rates in May this year. The bank is forecasting a slight pickup in the quarterly rate of growth for headline inflation, while it expects core inflation will remain steady. The headline increase is likely to be driven by higher prices for petrol, domestic travel and tobacco.

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