Members of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s monetary policy board said that the country’s economic growth is continuing at an acceptable race, minutes from the central bank’s July 3 meeting revealed on Tuesday.
In general, global economic expansion continues – with several countries climbing at a rate above trend. The bank conceded that erratic U.S. trade policy is a downside risk, however.
“Concerns about the direction of international trade policy in the United States and its effect on the global outlook had intensified over the prior month,” the minutes said.
At the meeting, the RBA decided to keep its benchmark lending rate unchanged at the record low 1.50 percent.
A gradual pick-up in inflation is expected as the economy strengthens. Inflation is forecast to be a bit above 2 percent in 2018.
The Australian dollar has depreciated a little but remains within the range that it has been in over the past two years, the bank observed.
Core inflation continues to be beneath the central bank’s target range, the bank said, and the next move on the cash rate is likely to be an increase.
“Since progress towards a lower unemployment rate and an inflation rate closer to the midpoint of the target range was likely to be gradual, they also agreed there was no strong case for a near-term adjustment in monetary policy,” the minutes said.
The bank provided a positive outlook for the labor market. The vacancy rate is high and other forward-looking indicators continue to point to solid growth in employment, the bank noted.
The RBA said the rate of wages growth appears to have troughed and there are increasing reports of skills shortages in some areas.
“The board judged that holding the stance of monetary policy unchanged at this meeting would be consistent with sustainable growth in the economy and achieving the inflation target over time,” the minutes said.