Australia central bank seen keeping rates steady at February meeting: Reuters poll

Australia central bank seen keeping rates steady at February meeting: Reuters poll

SYDNEY – Australia’s central bank is seen as all but certain to keep its cash rate at a record low of 1.5 percent at its monthly policy meeting next week, a Reuters poll of economists found.

Out of 48 economists who were polled, 47 forecast the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) would stand pat at its policy meeting on Feb. 6.

The RBA eased twice in 2016 but has since held steady as it balances the risk of fuelling further borrowing in the country’s property market against tepid inflation. The housing sector has recently started cooling off from a blistering years-long pace.

While the majority predicted the central bank would keep rates steady until the third quarter of next year, 23 of 45 respondents forecast that it would tighten at least once by December next year, against one who expects two easings.

The cash rate is seen at 2.0 percent by June 2019, according to the median of 33 economists.

Economists were asked what the cash rate would be after the next RBA meeting in February and where rates would be at the end of each quarter until September 2019.

 

Reuters