RBA May Preview – Will they Cut Rates?

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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.

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Look at Australian Economy Ahead of RBA

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.