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RBA board expects next rate move to be up

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The board of the Reserve Bank believe that their next interest rate move is likely to be a hike, though it may be some time to come.

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The minutes of RBA’s April 3 board meeting, released today, also show that the central bank is not concerned by falling house prices in Sydney and Melbourne.

RBA Governor Philip Lowe has previously said that he believes the next move for the cash rate will be a rise, and the minutes show that view is shared by the central bank’s board members.

“In current circumstances, members agreed that it was more likely that the next move in the cash rate would be up, rather than down,” the minutes said.

But with a fall in unemployment and increase in inflation only occurring gradually, the board members also agreed that there was not a strong case for a rate hike in the near-term, the minutes said.

The cash rate has stood at a record low of 1.5 per cent since August 2016, and financial markets currently expect it to remain there until mid-2019.

The RBA minutes also mentioned recent falls in house prices in the major markets of Sydney and Melbourne, noting a fall of just under five per cent in Sydney since their peak in mid-2017.

The minutes indicate the central bank is not too concerned about the fall, saying that the board members also noted that there had been falls of around 10 per cent in some cities within the last 15 years.

After the release of the RBA minutes the Australian dollar dropped almost one-fifth of a US cent, and it was trading at 77.72 US cents at 1230 AEST.

– AAP

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