RBA keeps interest rates on hold amid subdued inflation

RBA expected to keep rates on hold

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has left the cash rate unchanged at 1.5%, making November the 15th consecutive month the cash rate has stayed at a record low.

In a widely expected move, the RBA left interest rates unchanged at at the conclusion of its monthly policy meeting. Labor cash earnings are called higher by an annual 0.5%, slowing from 0.9% in the previous month.

Australia's statistician announced a reweighting of the consumer price basket this week that will lower inflation levels further, making it harder for the consumer prices to rise at the pace now forecast. In September, consumer prices gained 0.5% on month and 3.4% on year, while producer prices advanced 0.2% on month and fell 0.3% on year.

It ended the day 61 points (1.02%) higher at 6,014.

Dr Lowe said the jobs market was likely to improve with the jobless rate tipped to gradually decline from its current level of 5.5 per cent.

Governor Philip Lowe said while the outlook for the overall economy was still positive, partly because of public infrastructure spending, there were issues around the household sector.

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But third quarter inflation data was slightly below expectations and September retail sales came in weak.

Still, a more benign inflation outlook would signal the RBA is prepared to remain sidelined well into 2018, and potentially for some time beyond, resisting the lead of overseas central banks, economists warned.

Wage growth is forecast to remain low for a while yet, although the bank said the stronger conditions in the labor market should see some lift in wage growth over time.

"Inflation remains low, with both CPI and underlying inflation running a little below 2 per cent", Dr Lowe said in a statement on Tuesday.

"The higher exchange rate is expected to contribute to continued subdued price pressures in the economy".

But with borrowing for houses still outstripping incomes growth by a significant margin, fears about growing financial instability in the property market are unlikely to ease much.

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