Little chance Reserve Bank will lift interest rates from their historic lows

The Reserve Bank is extremely unlikely to change course on its interest rate outlook in the light of last week’s inflation figures, which showed price pressures remain extremely subdued.

The RBA will hold its monthly board meeting on Tuesday, where it is expected to keep the cash rate, and other key measures, at a record low 0.1 per cent.

The central bank has repeatedly said it has no intention of lifting interest rates until inflation is sustainably within the two to three per cent target band.

The latest consumer price index for the March quarter showed the annual inflation rate at just 1.1 per cent and the more interest rate-sensitive underlying measure as equally benign.

“As such, its likely to repeat that it does not expect to raise interest rates until 2024 at the earliest,” AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver said of the RBA.

Growth estimate upgrade

Deputy RBA governor Guy Debelle will get the opportunity to reinforce the central bank’s message on Thursday when he addresses an audience in Perth.

The central bank will wrap up the week with its quarterly statement on monetary policy, which contains its latest economic forecasts.

Dr Oliver expects the RBA will likely upgrade its economic growth forecasts, while revising down its unemployment rate forecast.

The economic recovery has been much stronger than both the RBA and Treasury had been expecting and the unemployment rate much lower than had been anticipated at 5.6 per cent in March.

Economists will scan RBA governor Philip Lowe’s post-meeting statement on Tuesday for his latest thoughts on the booming housing market, having previously said it and other financial regulators are closely monitoring the situation.

RBA figures late last week showed the annual rate of demand for owner-occupier home loans at the fastest pace in more than two years, although riskier investor home loans remain slow. This week will see the full suite of housing data.

-AAP

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