Wed, Oct 02, 2019 - Page 10 News List

Australia’s central bank cuts rates to record low

‘SPARE CAPACITY’:An extended period of low interest rates would be needed for the country to reach full employment, RBA Governor Philip Lowe said

AFP, SYDNEY

Australia’s central bank yesterday lowered the cost of borrowing, slashing interest rates for the third time this year amid fears about the flagging domestic economy.

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) announced that it had cut rates by another 25 basis points to 0.75 percent, a decision that brings the country’s interest rates to a historic low.

The move is part of efforts to extend a record 28-year run without a recession in the face of increasing economic headwinds that include stagnant employment levels, low wage growth and high household debt.

Resource-rich Australia dodged the worst of the financial crisis, but the economy recently recorded its weakest annual growth in a decade, expanding just 1.4 percent in the year to June.

RBA Governor Philip Lowe said the decision to lower the cash rate was designed to “support employment and income growth and to provide greater confidence that inflation will be consistent with the medium-term target.”

“The economy still has spare capacity and lower interest rates will help make inroads into that,” he said in a statement following the bank’s monthly policy meeting.

Lowe has said that an “extended period” of low interest rates would be necessary to achieve full employment and reach the bank’s inflation target, with the bank remaining “prepared to ease monetary policy further if needed.”

Australia is also feeling the effects of US-China trade tensions, which have rattled the global economy as central banks worldwide attempt to offset economic risks by lowering rates.

However, one bright light identified by Lowe was recent signs of a turnaround in the Sydney and Melbourne housing markets after a prolonged slump.

The Australian stock exchange moved slightly higher on the news, with the All Ordinaries reaching above 6,853 in afternoon trade, while one Australian dollar was buying US$0.6728.

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