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Breaking Market Wire, Asia Pacific

RBA: A more balanced approach

At its first meeting of 2024, and the first under the new ~6-weekly structure which also saw the bank release its latest economic projections, the RBA kept the cash rate steady at 4.35%. This was expected with more attention on the RBA’s updated reading of the macro landscape and its policy guidance. In the end the RBA played a rather straight bat by continuing to stress that “returning inflation to target within a reasonable timeframe remains the Board’s highest priority” and noting that “while recent data indicate that inflation is easing, it remains high”. With that in mind, in the...

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Inflation moving in the right direction

The Q4 Australian CPI report negatively surprised. A welcomed development for indebted mortgage holders with the data further cementing the case for the RBA to keep rates steady for a while, and opening the door slightly more to the start of a gradual easing cycle later this year. Positive base-effects in things like food and petrol as last year’s larger increases rolled out of calculations, coupled with disinflation across ‘goods’ prices (thanks to weaker global demand and repaired supply chains), and government subsidies designed to artificially hold back rents and take the heat out of electricity costs pushed annual CPI...

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RBA: it ain’t over till it’s over

After sitting on its hands since delivering a rate rise in early-June, the RBA has seen enough to think that its policy settings weren’t ‘restrictive’ enough to get inflation back down to the 2-3% target band in the desired time. At today’s meeting the RBA Board, under the stewardship of new Governor Bullock, raised interest rates by another 25bps. This has taken the cash rate up to 4.35%, its highest level since November 2011. Today’s move has taken the cumulative tightening delivered to 425bps, by far the most abrupt RBA hiking cycle in several decades. According to the RBA, inflation...

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CPI keeps the pressure on the RBA

The Q3 Australian CPI report positively surprised, further opening the door to another 25bp rate rise by the RBA as soon as the 7 November meeting. While base-effects as last year’s larger price increases rolled out of calculation, pushed annual CPI lower (headline CPI decelerated to 5.4%pa and trimmed mean (the RBA’s preferred core inflation gauge) slowed to 5.2%pa), the underlying inflation pulse remains quite strong. The pull-back in annual inflation was less than anticipated, and quarterly growth stepped up with headline and core CPI both rising by 1.2%qoq. This was above the markets forecast and well north of the...

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MAS holds the line

At its 13 October policy review, the Monetary Authority of Singapore didn’t rock the boat, and in line with expectations maintained “the prevailing rate of appreciation” of the SGD NEER (i.e. 1.5%pa). The MAS also held the width of the trading band and level at which it is centered steady. In our view, maintaining the width of the SGD NEER band at 2% from the midpoint gives the MAS scope to support activity should the downside global growth risks flagged materialise (see below). Going forward the MAS is shifting to quarterly, rather than semi-annual, policy reviews in 2024. The next...

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