Sunday, April 14, 2024

Interest rates on hold again

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has left the cash rate target unchanged at 4.35%.

According to the central bank, inflation continues to moderate but remains high.

“The headline monthly CPI indicator was steady at 3.4% over the year to January, with momentum easing over recent months, driven by moderating goods inflation,” it says.

“While there are encouraging signs that inflation is moderating, the economic outlook remains uncertain.

“Returning inflation to target within a reasonable timeframe remains the Board’s highest priority.”

Commenting on the RBA’s decision, Australian Retailers Association CEO Paul Zahra says it will give the retail industry and Australians “much-needed” relief as the cost-of-living crunch continues to bite.

“This decision is no surprise given the downward inflationary trend. However, it provides important stability for Australians and businesses,” he says.

“At a time of immense financial pressure and hardship for most, holding the cash rate remaining stable at 4.35% since November is an important confidence signal for our economy.

“Retail performance has been subdued in recent months, with discretionary spending taking a significant hit. While interest rates have remained on hold for four months, most Australian household budgets remain under significant pressure.

“With the rising cost of doing business and softening discretionary spending putting strong pressure on retailers, this is a much-needed break.”

Following March’s cash rate decision, the RBA will meet again on 7 May, with just eight meetings in 2024.

“With inflation reducing considerably, we’re hopeful the RBA may consider reducing interest rates in the near future,” says Mr Zahra.

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