Via Damien Boey at Credit Suisse:
Minutes from the RBA’s early August meeting were somewhat dovish in tone. We note the following key paragraphs:
- The Bank’s response function only allows for a brief pause to “wait and see”: “Having eased monetary policy at the previous two meetings, the Board judged it appropriate to assess developments in the global and domestic economies before considering further change to the setting of monetary policy. Members would consider a further easing of monetary policy if the accumulation of additional evidence suggested this was needed to support sustainable growth in the economy and the achievement of the inflation target over time.”
- Unconventional monetary policy is on the agenda: “Members reviewed the experience of other advanced economies with unconventional monetary policy measures over the preceding decade. These measures comprised: very low and negative policy interest rates; explicit forward guidance; lowering longer-term risk-free rates by purchasing government securities; providing longer-term funding to banks to support credit creation; purchasing private sector assets; and foreign exchange intervention … One key lesson was that the effectiveness of these measures depended upon the specific circumstances facing each economy and the nature of its financial system. Some measures had been successful in reducing government bond yields, which had flowed through to lower interest rates for private borrowers. Other measures had been effective in addressing dislocations in credit supply. Members noted that a package of measures tended to be more effective than measures implemented in isolation. Finally, it was important for the central bank to communicate clearly and consistently about these measures.”
- There is downside risk to the global growth outlook from trade and technology disputes: “Growth in major trading partners was expected to slow a little in 2019 and 2020. This outlook had been revised down a little since the May Statement on Monetary Policy in light of the escalation of the US–China trade and technology disputes and the related weakness in indicators of investment. Members noted the recent announcement by the US administration of a 10 per cent tariff to be imposed on a further US$300 billion of Chinese exports to the United States. Further escalation presented a downside risk to the outlook, particularly if heightened uncertainty weighed further on business investment. Members noted that investment intentions had already eased significantly in a number of economies, including the United States and the euro area, and investment had fallen in a number of economies with a high exposure to international trade, including South Korea.”
Officials discussed “particularly weak” growth in consumption per capita, but were hopeful that tax cuts and rate cuts would help turn growth around. Officials were also hopeful that the terms of trade boost would flow through to some mining capex growth and to government spending.
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