SINGAPORE, Nov 2 (Reuters) - Australia’s central bank left its cash rate at a record low of 0.1% on Tuesday, but dropped both a commitment to keeping bond yields low and its projection of no hike in interest rates until 2024.
Yields on three-year bonds the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) had so far targeted fell initially and then rose around 3 basis points to 0.758%, while benchmark 3-year yields were down 5 basis points at 0.99%.
Stocks dipped and the Australian dollar fell 0.25% to $0.74975, but stayed within a two-week range.
RAY ATTRILL, HEAD OF FX STRATEGY, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK, SYDNEY
“The RBA has made every effort to sound dovish.
“There’s nothing in the statement to endorse market pricing that has the RBA moving in 2022, so in that sense there’s clearly an attempt to push back on market pricing.
“Their forecasts, which we get on Friday, could be consistent with a move in 2023, but certainly not in 2022, and I think that’s where the market reaction has come from.
“In the last week or so there’s been a tug of war between the big falls we’ve seen in commodity prices and the big moves we’ve seen in Aussie interest rates, particularly real interest rates. Arguably now, that tug of war for the moment is being resolved with both lower rates and falling commodity prices, so on that basis I would say that the risk is that we could see some further slippage in the Aussie dollar near term.
MOH SIONG SIM, ANALYST, BANK OF SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE
“It’s some sort of meet-me-halfway. I think the RBA acknowledges that yield curve control is past its use-by date, but at the same time it’s also careful in essentially saying that rate hikes are still some way away.
“They are inching toward meeting market expectations but with some mild push back.
“This is an inherent drawback of a yield-curve control, and it’s why the Fed is very hesitant to go down this route, because it’s always the case that you hang on to it until you can’t - and you can’t meaning you’re forced by the market or the situation turns.”
SHANE OLIVER, HEAD OF INVESTMENT STRATEGY AND CHIEF ECONOMIST, AMP CAPITAL, SYDNEY
“They have essentially softened their guidance on interest rates from saying we don’t expect a rate hike before 2024 to saying conditions for a rate hike will take some time, which I guess leaves it open to interpretation.
“The market had come to expect (abandoning the yield target) after the RBA had failed to defend the target Friday, so it’s not surprising. Obviously, that means the RBA will no longer be holding down the short end of the yield curve and it can mean higher fixed mortgage rates in Australia.
“The overall tone of the statement is that the RBA is more optimistic, and it has justified the dropping of the target by having more confidence in the economic outlook and faster achievement of higher inflation.”
SU-LIN ONG, CHIEF ECONOMIST, RBC CAPITAL MARKETS, SYDNEY
“I think they’ve delivered a pretty reasonable decision here. The yield-curve control, after not coming in and defending it on Thursday and Friday it was always very likely that it was going to be abandoned. I think it had reached its use-by date.
“When you add to that the upward revisions in the bank’s forecasts to inflation in particular, and even to wages at the back end of the forecast, it’s telling you that the odds of cash being at 10 basis points all the way to ‘24 is very unlikely.
“Dropping that gives them the option to move sooner if needs be, and also to move away from very accommodative settings. They’ve made it very clear that they will still be patient, that the onus, I think, is on wages growth to pick up for them to be confident that inflation will be comfortably within target. That’s really the key now I think over the next 12 months.”
(Reporting by Kevin Buckland and Hideyuki Sano in Tokyo, Tom Westbrook in Singapore, Alun John in Hong Kong Compiled by Vidya Ranganathan Editing by Shri Navaratnam)