The Reserve Bank of Australia has decided to keep the official cash rate on hold at 4.5 per cent for the fourth consecutive month.
Uncertainty surrounding the global economic outlook, consumer spending and Australia’s political situation forced the Board to leave rates unchanged.
Rates have been on hold since May. Prior to that, concerns about rising inflation forced the RBA to lift rates by 25 basis points in March, April and May.
While local economic data shows the Australian economy has grown at the fastest pace in three years, ongoing economic uncertainty abroad ultimately forced the RBA to err on the side of caution when making the latest rate decision.
“The current setting of monetary policy is resulting in interest rates to borrowers around their average levels of the past decade. With growth in the near term likely to be close to trend, inflation close to target and with the global outlook remaining somewhat uncertain, the Board judged this setting of monetary policy to be appropriate for the time being,” RBA governor Glenn Stevens said in his statement on monetary policy.
The news did not come as a surprise, with many economists predicting the RBA would leave rates unchanged when it met in Adelaide today.
AMP chief economist Shane Oliver said the stronger than expected data culminating in above trend growth in the June quarter was balanced against uncertainty regarding the global outlook and expectations that inflation is likely to remain within the target range over the year ahead.