Via Deutsche: Australian consumers suggest the RBA won’t be following the BoC anytime soon; and that Fed Funds should be closer to the RBA cash rate. One stark difference between Australia and Canada is the ‘happiness’ of Canadians (the high level of Canadian consumer sentiment) versus ‘not-so-happy’ Australians (Figure 1). In Figure 2 we plot
Australian interest rates are set by the Reserve Bank of Australia, an independent body established in 1959. It is guided by an inflation targeting regime that seeks price stability in the 2-3% consumer price index band. The RBA originally also governed prudential policy but following several large scandals and bankruptcies in the late 1990s that role was separated into a discrete entity titled the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority.
The RBA is widely well-regarded despite a recent history of buried corruption allegations and a board of business rent seekers that, in more ethical nations, would not have their hands anywhere near monetary policy levers.
In 1990, Australian interest rates were set at 17.5%. But during the Great Moderation, interest rates consistently fell alongside inflation and oscillated in a band between 1.5% and 7.5%.
Owing to an endowment of resources that proved very attractive to China during the Global Financial Crisis, Australian interest rates did not fall to the lows experienced in other developed markets. Indeed, Australia was the first developed market to raise interest after the crisis though it has subsequently had to lower them again as the commodity boom subsided.
During the 2000s, Australian interest rates began to be influenced by external economic pressures much more than previously. This process was driven by the huge offshore borrowing of Australia’s big four banks in wholesale markets. As their offshore liabilities ballooned, the banks were increasingly exposed to the vicissitudes of far flung markets and investors. This reached a head in the global financial crisis of 2008 when banks faced much higher demands from offshore investors for better risk-adjusted returns, forcing them to break with the Australian cash rate in setting local interest rates.
Ever since, Australian bank have regularly adjusted lending and deposit interest rates unilaterally and independently around the cash rate set by the RBA. These interest rates moves were a constant source of political friction as politicians sought to protect the Australian property bubble.
In 2015, Australian interest rate policy was forced to return to a defacto shared responsibility arrangement between the RBA and APRA. With the lowest interest rates in fifty years, the Australian property bubble inflated to new dimensions even as a global yield trade drove up the value of the Australian dollar, threatening economic growth. Eventually the solution found was to apply macroprudential policy to some mortgage lending so that interest rates could be lowered to take pressure off the currency.
MacroBusiness was the most accurate forecaster on Australia interest rates in the market from 2011 forward. It predicted both the turn in rates downwards in 2011 and has had the most dovish outlook ever since. It also lead the debate around, and implementation of, macroprudential tools in 2014. MacroBusiness covers all apposite data and wider analysis of these issues daily.
If you want to know why the Aussie dollar is so resilient here it is, via Goldman: Bottom line: In a speech today, RBA Assistant Governor (Economic) Luci Ellis expressed the view that the global economy has turned and suggested there was a risk in falling “behind the curve in catching a change in economic
He may not know how to fill in his parliamentary application form but he sure knows why it’s there. If there was ever any doubt about what this guy stands for then put it aside: Nick Xenophon will introduce legislation next year to require the prudential regulator to closely consider the impact of its actions
RBA minutes: Domestic Economic Conditions Members commenced their discussion of the domestic economy by noting that labour market conditions had continued to improve, although spare capacity remains. Employment had risen further in July, the participation rate had edged higher and the unemployment rate had remained steady at 5.6 per cent. Full-time employment had risen strongly
Via UBS: Aug jobs boom 54k, surging 2.7% y/y (best since 2015), driven by full-time Employment boomed in Aug-17, up a far stronger than expected 54k m/m (UBS: +10k, mkt: +20k), the most since Mar-17, after +29k in Jul-17 (was +28k). The y/y jumped to 2.7%, the best since 2015, albeit ~consistent with stronger lead
From Bloxo: Strong jobs growth: RBA hikes are coming Today’s jobs numbers delivered a strong upside surprise, with 54k jobs created in August (market had 20k) driven mostly by full-time job creation. These numbers line up well with the other surveys, such as the NAB business survey, job vacancies and job advertisements, which are also
Via Bloomie comes RBA board member Ian Harper with strong words of warning for the hawks: While it’s “terrific” full-time employment growth is strong and unemployment is slowly coming down, it’s a “concern” to see under-employment isn’t moving much and wages and household income growth are slow, because that indicates excess capacity, Harper said in
From NAB: Stronger employment, GDP and investment data have seen us revise our forecasts lower for unemployment, and slightly increase our forecasts for GDP growth and inflation. While we remain cautious about aspects of the economic outlook, we now believe the labour market will strengthen enough to allow the RBA to remove some of the
From Goldman: The RBA’s long-standing reference to labour market conditions “warranting careful monitoring” was an interesting omission from the final paragraph of August’s RBA Board Minutes. Since April 2017, the RBA had framed its neutral policy stance as a “watching brief” over risks in the labour and housing markets – with “uncertainty” on the labour
From Phil Lowe overnight: Good evening. On behalf of the Reserve Bank Board I would like to warmly welcome you all to this community dinner. Thank you for your interest in the RBA and for joining us this evening. As you are probably aware the Reserve Bank Board had its monthly meeting here in Brisbane
From Bill Evans at Westpac: As expected, the Reserve Bank Board decided to leave the cash rate unchanged at 1.50%. The Governor’s statement indicates that the Bank is feeling a little more comfortable with the outlook. Growth prospects have improved and the heat seems to be coming out of the housing market. Evidence to support
Here’s the statement by governor Phil Lowe: At its meeting today, the Board decided to leave the cash rate unchanged at 1.50 per cent. Conditions in the global economy are continuing to improve. Labour markets have tightened further and above-trend growth is expected in a number of advanced economies, although uncertainties remain. Growth in the
Via Melbourne Institute: MI headline inflation gauge, August: +0.1%mom, +2.6%yoy. Last, July: +0.1%mom, +2.7%yoy. MI trimmed mean inflation gauge, August: +0.1%mom, +2.5%yoy. Last, July: +0.1%mom, +2.3%yoy. Components: the largest contributors were private motoring (+1.0%mom), new dwellings (+0.4%) and recreation, sport & culture (+1.1%mom). These were partially offset by falls in holiday travel (-2.7%mom) and fruit
Via Macquarie: The party is almost over Past tailwinds to turn to future headwinds The major’s ability to reprice mortgages has provided a significant backdrop to their earnings growth over the past decade. However, as we approach the end of the current repricing cycle we expect banks will need to focus on other avenues to
From the shadow: Economic Outlook Improves But Rates Should Stay on Hold Solid employment figures, growing business confidence, and a brightening of the global economy suggest a slightly improved outlook for the Australian economy. The RBA Shadow Board continues to advocate a hold-and-wait policy. It attaches a 61% probability that this is the appropriate setting.
Via the AFR: Heritage Bank, the nation’s second largest mutual, will stop offering property investment loans and is restructuring other products amid fears it will blow tough regulatory speed limits on lending growth after recent attractive offers attracted a deluge of borrowers. It follows the decision of CUA, the nation’s largest mutual, to stop writing new loans for property
Via Banking Day: Macro-prudential policy in New Zealand will be relied on for a while yet as it is “valuable in addressing financial stability risks”, Graeme Wheeler, governor of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, said yesterday. In a long reflection on his five year term as a central bank chief, Wheeler positioned the less
Macroprudential 2.0 is still in the swing as the nation’s largest zero-interest bank struggles get under the 30% cap, via AFR: Westpac Banking Group will today introduce a new range of policies intended to tighten lending by increasing scrutiny of borrowers’ income, the second policy change in a week after revealing its exposure to higher-risk
Via News: TAXPAYERS have been slugged a $166,000 booze bill over the last three years racked up by bankers at the Reserve Bank of Australia — the organisation in charge of the country’s fiscal responsibility. They quaffed two dozen bottles of 2012 Penfolds Bin 389 cabernet shiraz — valued at $75 each — and bought
From senior economist at CBA, Gareth Aird. Output growth in Australia has been soft over the past year. The latest national accounts put real GDP growth at just 1.7% over the year to QI 2017. But over that same period, total income growth has been incredibly strong. Nominal GDP, the broadest measure of national income,
Via Credit Suisse comes confirmation of what we’re seeing RMBS for household credit stress: ■ Mortgage & card past-due ratios and mortgage impaireds ratios rose in the latest quarter, with loss rates stable in mortgages but rising in cards. Whilst acknowledging seasonality, a slowing Western Australian economy, and residual impacts of Cyclone Debbie, mortgage past-due