Finance Finance News Economists sniff the wind for scent of further interest-rate cuts

Economists sniff the wind for scent of further interest-rate cuts

Philip Lowe stands in front a screen of financial data.
Expectations are growing that RBA governor Philip Lowe is about to make further rate cuts. Photo: The New Daily
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The minutes of the Reserve Bank’s October board meeting will be dissected by economists to see to what degree a possible easing in monetary policy was discussed by its members.

Their release on Tuesday will follow central bank governor Philip Lowe’s clear hint of the prospect of even lower interest rates in a speech last week.

He said his board had been considering what more it could do to support jobs, incomes and businesses.

“When the pandemic was at its worst and there were severe restrictions on activity, we judged that there was little to be gained from further monetary easing,” Dr Lowe said.

“As the economy opens up, though, it is reasonable to expect that further monetary easing would get more traction than was the case earlier.”

AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver expects a cut in the cash rate to 0.10 per cent from an already record low of 0.25 per cent when the board meets on November 3.

He also expects similar reductions to its three-year bond yield target and term funding facility rate for banks, as well as an expanded bond buying program for maturities greater than three-years.

“The clear message from RBA Governor Lowe’s speech in the last week is that it is essential for the recovery from the ‘uneven recession’ for households and businesses to have the confidence to spend,” he said.

“While containing the virus is critical here, along with the recent further support in the budget, monetary policy still has a role to play too.”

The Aussie dips

Deputy governor Guy Debelle will also deliver a speech to a foreign exchange conference on Thursday, providing a further opportunity to steer market thinking in the right direction on the outlook.

The prospect of lower interest interests has undermined the Australian dollar.

The currency was trading 70.77 US cents on Sunday, around a cent lower since Dr Lowe’s comments.

Australian shares look set for a steady opening after a choppy session on Wall Street where key indices ended below their highs or weaker.

The S&P 500 ended 0.5 points higher to 3,483.81 and the Dow Jones index was up 112 points at 28,606.31, while the Nasdaq fell 42.32 points to 11,671.56.

The US market had been up for much of the day after the government reported retail sales rose in September for the fifth straight month, but that optimism faded late in the day as companies began reporting third-quarter results and traders’ hopes for a new round of economic stimulus from Washington dimmed.