A deepening gloom across the largest developed economy to escape recession during the global financial crisis is shaping up as one of the toughest challenges yet for Reserve Bank of Australia chief Glenn Stevens.
Australia’s misery index — the sum of unemployment and inflation rates — is at 9.0, the highest since 2008, when the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. froze credit markets around the world and triggered the deepest recession in the U.S. since the Great Depression.
While policy makers from the U.S. Federal Reserve to the European Central Bank are still pumping stimulus into their economies at least in part to address job-market slack, Australia’s price pressures limit that option for the RBA. The upshot for the nation’s businesses and consumers: little prospect of lower borrowing costs from Stevens, 56.
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