RBA takes centre stage amid cash rate talk

·3-min read

The Reserve Bank of Australia's upcoming monthly board meeting may give some fresh clues as to when the cash rate might increase, but it is safe to say it will remain at a record low 0.1 per cent for a while yet.

RBA governor Philip Lowe will hold a rare media conference after Tuesday's meeting to ensure the right messaging gets out on the outlook.

And if there are any doubts on what the board is trying to achieve, Dr Lowe will have another chance to put the record straight when he gives a speech to the Economic Society of Australia on Thursday.

The central bank has repeatedly been saying that interest rates will not rise until inflation is sustainably within the two to three per cent inflation target, an event it did not expect to occur until 2024 at the earliest.

However, there is growing speculation among economists that this could be brought forward to 2023 or even earlier, given the strength of the economy, and particularly in a jobs market.

The RBA has flagged Tuesday's meeting has a couple of decisions to make, which may further influence such talk.

As one of its policy tools along side the cash rate, the RBA targets the three-year government bond to ensure its yield, or interest rate, remains at or close to 0.1 per cent. Most fixed-rate mortgages are set against three-year bonds.

It maintains the target by purchasing the three-year benchmark bond - which matures April 2024 - but it now has to decide whether it switches its focus to the November 2025 as the new three-year benchmark.

There is a growing feeling that it won't and will stick with the April 2024 version, because to shift to the later maturing bond would suggest the RBA does not expect to lift rate until closer to 2025.

The bank will also announce the next stage of its quantitative easing, or five and 10-year bond-buying program, which aims to keep market interest rates and borrowing costs low.

Its second $100 billion tranche under the program is due to be exhausted in September.

Analysts are speculating the next stage could be a smaller amount.

Economists will also focus on the RBA's latest view on the housing market following last week's data showing further price gains, coupled with another surge in home lending, particularly to investors.

Before the board meeting, there is a flurry of economic indicators for retail trade, building approvals, job advertising, consumer sentiment and payroll jobs over Monday and Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Australian shares look set for a flat start on Monday with the futures market trading unchanged from the previous close.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed 43 points, or 0.59 per cent, higher at 7308.6 on Friday.

Wall Street scaled new highs on Friday after new jobs figures showed further strong gains, but not enough to trigger interest rate rises by the US Federal Reserve.

The Labor Department's employment report showed non-farm payrolls increased by 850,000 jobs last month, but the total is 6.8 million below its peak in February 2020.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 152.82 points, or 0.44 per cent, to 34,786.35, the S&P 500 gained 32.4 points, or 0.75 per cent, to 4,352.34 and the Nasdaq Composite added 116.95 points, or 0.81 per cent, to 14,639.33.

The US markets will be closed on Monday on account of the Independence Day holiday.

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