Australia central bank rebuts recession, inflation fears

(Xinhua) 14:16, June 21, 2022

SYDNEY, June 21 (Xinhua) -- Governor of Australia's central bank, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), Philip Lowe has pushed back against fears that Australia is headed for a recession due to rising inflation and cost of living pressures.

Speaking to the American Chamber of Commerce in Australia (AMCHAM) in Sydney on Tuesday, Lowe acknowledged that Australia, like many other nations, was experiencing the highest rates of inflation in many years.

"The fact that inflation is higher everywhere tells us that there are powerful global factors at work," said Lowe.

He said that while interest rate increases were putting pressure on Australian households, strong demand in the labor market and historically low rates of unemployment, under 4 percent, indicated a strong buttress to a recessionary economy.

"Our fundamentals are strong and the position of the household sector is strong and firms are willing to hire people at record rates. It doesn't feel like the precursor to a recession, and interest rates are still low."

He said the bank was prepared to do "whatever it takes" to bring down inflation, but said that it is unlikely that interest rates would pass 4 percent by the end of the year.

In an effort to quell inflation, the bank already lifted interest rates by 25 basis points in May and 50 basis points this month. Lowe said that the board would discuss lifting rates by either 0.25 or 0.5 percentage points in their next monetary board meeting in July.

The RBA expects inflation to peak at 7 percent in the December 2022 quarter, and to return to the 2 to 3 percent target range in the next couple of years. 

(Web editor: Liang Jun, Bianji)