The Australian dollar fell marginally after the Reserve Bank of Australia kept interest rates on hold this morning in what was probably the most anticipated rate decision from the Australian central bank this year.
Accordingly, the RBA paused the rate hike cycle but left open the door for further rate rises if needed. The current Australian interest rate remains unchanged at 3.6%.
RBA governor, Philip Lowe, in his statement effectively left open the possibility of further interest rate rises if inflation did not continue to fall in the coming month.
RBA Governor Lowe said during this statement “The Board expects that some further tightening of monetary policy may well be needed to ensure that inflation returns to target”.
Lowe added that “The decision to hold interest rates steady this month provides the Board with more time to assess the state of the economy and the outlook, in an environment of considerable uncertainty”.
Investors had been expecting the pause even if commercial economists were split. Some economists had been even been suggesting that Lowe would cut rates.
To stop market fears Lowe said touched upon the banking system said “On the banking crisis the RBA said “The Australian banking system is strong, well capitalised and highly liquid. It is well placed to provide the credit that the economy needs.”
The chief economist from EY said the decision from the Reserve Bank could have gone either way today. He added, “Even the language in the statement does suggest the Reserve Bank is far from relaxed about the inflation outlook and suggesting more rate hikes might be necessary down the track.”
He also noted that “In the next month we will see important indicators, of course, the most important being the March quarter CPI itself, and that will give the bank a good indication of whether or not that disinflation it is starting to see in the monthly numbers is verified with the quarterly numbers and what the path is likely to look like from there”.
Overall, I think today’s move from the RBA could be seen as a hawkish pause. It now remains to be seen if other global central banks will also start to pause.