All eyes on housing when RBA meets

·3-min read

CSL director Carolyn Hewson is due to attend her first Reserve Bank board meeting on Tuesday, replacing EnergyAustralia boss Catherine Tanna after her five-year term finished in March.

It's likely to be the only change at the board's monthly gathering.

Economists expect governor Philip Lowe will reiterate that he does not expect to raise the record-low cash rate until 2024 as the central bank pursues lower unemployment, higher wages growth and more normal inflation pressures.

The cash rate has stood at 0.1 per cent since November, as has its three-year bond yield target, aimed at keeping rates low, and its term funding facility rate, which assists banks lend to business.

The RBA has also entered into a huge bond buying program, again aimed at keeping lending rates low.

"The focus will likely be on the RBA's assessment of the resurgence in the property market which will also be the main thing to watch in the RBA's Financial Stability Review to be released Friday," AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver said.

Figures released last week showed house prices grew at their fastest monthly pace in 32 years.

While home lending eased slightly in February, it remained close to January's record high, led by strong demand for mortgages from first home buyers, which stand 65.8 per cent higher than a year earlier.

At the same time, approvals to build private houses have soared to record highs, buoyed by the federal government's HomeBuilder grants program, which wound up last week.

Members of Australia's Council of Financial Regulators - the RBA, Treasury, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority and the Australian Securities and Investment Commission - are keeping are close watch on housing activity.

Economic data is fairly light in a shortened working week for Easter.

ANZ will release is monthly job advertisement series on Tuesday, a key pointer to future employment, particularly when there is uncertainty over what impact the winding back of government support measures will have.

Both the JobKeeper wage subsidy and the coronavirus JobSeeker dole payment supplement ended last week.

Treasury has estimated up to 150,000 jobs could be lost from the demise of JobKeeper.

Meanwhile, a further rally on Wall Street on Thursday helped Australian share futures higher.

Australian and US stock markets were closed on Friday for Good Friday, but the US Labor Department remained open, releasing its monthly payrolls report, which showed jobs surged by 916,000 jobs in March, eclipsing the 647,000 predicted by economists.

A further rally in US tech companies helped the S&P 500 above the 4000 mark for the first time, ending Thursday's session 1.2 per cent higher at 4019.87.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.5 per cent to 33,153.21 and the Nasdaq climbed 1.8 per cent to 13,480.11.

Australian share futures last traded 23 points or 0.3 per cent higher at 6826.

The S&P/ASX200 index closed up 0.6 per cent at 6828.7 on Thursday.