Heads up, Aussie traders! It’s the RBA’s turn to make their monetary policy announcement this week so y’all better start prepping for this top-tier event. Here are some things to keep in mind:
1. Economic data has been mixed
In my latest Economic Snapshot of the Australian economy, I’ve rounded up how hiring and inflation have been on the rise. Although most of these employment gains have been spurred by part-time hiring, the latest jobs release reflected a whopping 52K rebound in full-time employment and a pickup in labor force participation.
On the flip side, Australia’s trade balance came in way below expectations at a surplus of 0.56 billion AUD, down from the earlier 3.17 billion AUD figure. Underlying components indicated that this was due to an 8% slump in exports.
Leading indicators, particularly those gauging business and consumer confidence, also suggested that economic performance could slow down. In particular, the NAB business confidence index for May slipped from 13 to 7 while the Westpac consumer sentiment reading came in at -1.8%, following the earlier -1.1% figure.
2. Housing market is cooling down
The RBA has been worried about a property bubble for quite some time now, but it looks like the regulators’ efforts are starting to bear fruit. Home loans have been on the decline for the past three months, signaling cooling demand and a reduction in speculative buying.
Of course it’s also worth noting that credit ratings agency Moody’s downgraded four of Australia’s largest banks on risky mortgages. According to their statement:
“The resilience of household balance sheets and, consequently, bank portfolios to a serious economic downturn has not been tested at these levels of private sector indebtedness.”
In other words, financial institutions and regulators might need to take more steps in order to limit potential risks related to capital requirements and household incomes. And one way to tighten lending conditions would be to hint at potential interest rate hikes.
3. Expectations, expectations, expectations
As I often mention in my blog posts, with high expectations comes a great chance of disappointment. Just think of all the hype for the “Batman vs. Superman” movie and how it turned out to be a huge letdown.In the RBA’s case, market watchers may already be bracing for a hawkish statement since the central bank has been sounding cheery in their earlier announcements. To top it off, we’ve seen a bunch of policymakers shifting to a less dovish stance these days, so there are speculations that the RBA might reaffirm its upbeat views.
But since these expectations have already been priced in for some time, there’s a good chance we could see profit-taking during the actual statement, especially if the official announcement isn’t as hawkish as many expect.