Australia keeps interest rates on hold
Australia’s central bank kept interest rates at historic lows Tuesday, despite weaker-than-expected growth and global trade fears.
Reserve Bank of Australia chief Philip Lowe said the cash rate would remain unchanged at 1.00 percent but the board would “ease monetary policy further if needed”.
The bank had already cut rates by a quarter-point in June and again in July owing to concerns about the slowing economy.
“Economic growth in Australia over the first half of this year has been lower than earlier expected,” Lowe admitted.
Consumer spending has been weighed down by what the bank called “a protracted period of low income growth and declining housing prices”.
Australians have one of the world’s highest costs of living but have struggled as wages have stagnated, the unemployment rate has remained stuck stubbornly at 5.2 percent, and the value of their homes has declined.
“It is reasonable to expect that an extended period of low interest rates will be required,” Lowe said.