Case is Mounting for RBA to Cut Rates Soon

Australia’s central bank has kept its benchmark interest rate at a record low for 17 months — the longest period on hold in almost two decades — as the economy has gone from mining investment boom to bust.  A growing group of economists say it’s time to cut again.

The number anticipating a rate reduction in the first half of the year has grown to 11 of the 35 surveyed by Bloomberg News in Jan. 15-20, up from six out of 26 in December. They include three of Australia’s four major banks, the country’s largest investment bank and Deutsche Bank AG.

Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Glenn Stevens, who will hold the year’s first policy meeting on Feb. 3, has been reluctant to reduce the overnight cash rate target from 2.5 percent where it has been since August 2013. “I don’t think we see many people at all saying ‘look, the cost of money is too high, or I can’t get money,’” he said in an interview with the Australian Financial Review published Dec. 12 — his most recent public comments.


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