The Reserve Bank of Australia meets tonight and new central bank governor is at the helm. Phillip Lowe, former RBA deputy governor succeeded Glenn Stevens and investors will be paying close attention to the new governor’s tone. Chances are he is going to play it safe and maintain the central bank’s upbeat outlook. The last time they convened they expressed confidence in the trend of growth and labor market. When Lowe spoke last month, he said the labor market is not as strong as the unemployment rate suggests and inflation is expected to remain low for some time. Taking a look at the table below, there has been as much improvement as deterioration in Australia’s economy since the last monetary policy meeting with broad improvements in China. So while RBA Governor Lowe may be optimistic, the main takeaway will be patience. AUD may fall on this but at a time when the central banks of the U.K., Eurozone, Japan and New Zealand are considering more stimulus, a neutral bias will make any declines shallow. In fact we believe the better trade is to be long AUD pre-RBA.
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 meeting is this evening. Only 4 out of 28 economists expect the RBA to cut interest rates. Here’s part of the reason why. Take a look at how the economy has performed since the last meeting in December:
Was on Bloomberg TV today talking with Sara Eisen about opportunities in the AUD/USD:
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.