Australia keeps rates on hold, warns on housing

05 April 2017 AFP, Sydney

Australia's central bank held interest rates at a record low 1.50 percent for a seventh straight meeting Tuesday as it juggles a booming property market with mixed economic data.
The Reserve Bank of Australia slashed rates 300 basis points between November 2011 and August last year to support non-resources industries as the economy transitions out of a mining investment boom. It has remained on hold since then.
In a statement, Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe said 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".
Economists expect a better reading on the bank's intentions moving forward once it considers first quarter inflation data due later this month, potentially making the board's May meeting more interesting.
Inflation remains below the Reserve Bank's 2-3 percent target band, while the jobless rate has edged up to 5.9 percent since the bank last met.
At the same times wages growth remains weak, eroding consumers' purchasing power. Data this week showed continued softness in retail sales.

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