The main focus tonight will be on Australia and the Reserve Bank’s monetary policy announcement. At their last meeting the RBA left rates unchanged and said, “Under present circumstances, an appreciating exchange rate could complicate the adjustment under way in the economy.” Investors interpreted these comments to mean discomfort with the current level of the currency and sent AUD tumbling lower as a result. There’s a small subset of investors looking for the RBA to ease this month because CPI declined in the first quarter and activity slowed according to the PMIs. However according to the following table, consumer spending rebounded, business confidence improved, the unemployment rate declined and market indicators ticked upwards. So like many of their peers, the RBA may opt to wait and see how the economy performs in the next month before taking additional action.
The Reserve Bank of Australia’s monetary policy announcement is in just a few hours! For the second month in a row, the RBA is expected to ease but economists are divided on a 25 vs. 50bp move. Here’s a table showing how Australian data fared since the last meeting. As you can see, weakness all around particularly in consumer spending, employment and activity – definitely not good news!
The Reserve Bank of Australia is gearing up to cut interest rates this evening. The market is currently pricing in 32bp of tightening which means that investors expect the central bank to reduce rates by a minimum of 25bp. 50bp is a possibility but given some signs of improvement in Australia’s economy (jobs and construction/services), I expect a more moderate move. Here’s a table comparing how economic data has fared since the last monetary policy meeting on April 3rd.
The Federal Reserve, European Central Bank and the Reserve Bank of Australia have monetary policy meetings scheduled this week and some investors expect these central banks to change monetary policy. Here’s what the market is pricing in according to interest rate futures. You can compare them with the Central Bank expectations back in September. What is interesting is that the market does not expect the ECB to cut interest rates this year even though many economists predict a 50bp cut in December.
FED – Nada for 2011 and 2012
ECB – 25bp rate cut by July (sharp upgrade from Sept when rate cut expected in Dec)
BOE – Nada for 2011 and 2012 but slight shift to dovish bias
BOC – Rate Cuts now expected in 2012, down from rate hike by April
RBA – 25bp Rate cut by Dec – upgrade from 100bp by year end
RBNZ – No Major Changes, Rate Hike Expected July 2012
And here are the details: