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RBA Meeting Preview: No change to policy expected, markets look for fresh guidance

By Kyle Rodda

13:17, 17 June 2024

The Reserve Bank of Australia is expected to keep interest rates unchanged at 4.35% when it meets on Tuesday, June 18th, 2024, at 2:30 PM (AEST).

The Australian economy sputters, but inflation remains above the RBA’s target

The Australian economy is plagued by stubborn inflation and softer growth. The latest monthly CPI indicator revealed an unexpected increase in headline and trimmed-mean CPI, stoking concerns about a re-anchoring or reacceleration of inflation. Headline CPI rose 3.6% y/y in April, while the more important trimmed mean figure jumped to 4.1%, marking two successive months of stronger price growth. Although it doesn’t fully capture the full CPI basket of the official inflation data, and the RBA bases its policy decisions on the quarterly print, the CPI indicator represents an ominous signal for policymakers about the potential of stickier prices and the possible need for more restrictive policy.

(Source: Trading Economics)

On the other side of the ledger for the RBA, Australian economic growth is clearly falling, with the economy teetering towards a recession. GDP data for the March quarter was released in early June and showed that annual growth slowed to 1.1%, with quarterly growth only marginally in positive territory at 0.1%. For a fifth straight quarter, the economy was in a so-called “per capita recession”, revealing a reversal in living standards for households and an economy expanding largely because of migration.

(Source: Trading Economics)

The latest jobs data signals ongoing strength in hiring but relatively looser conditions in the labour market. The Labour Force report for May showed the economy added 39,700 jobs, with the unemployment rate falling to 4.0%, as expected. The numbers suggest that growth remains strong enough to sustain employment; however, solid population growth (and a subsequent rise in the unemployment rate) is creating slack in the market that will likely translate to softening wage pressures and inflation risks.

(Source: Trading Economics)

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RBA expected to keep rates unchanged, markets on the lookout for fresh guidance

The Reserve Bank of Australia is expected to keep the cash rate unchanged at 4.35%. Given recent data showing continued robustness in the labour market and rising inflationary pressures but also weaker growth, the markets will look to the central bank for fresh guidance on the policy outlook.

Despite the upside risks to inflation, cash rate futures have moved to reflect the higher probability of RBA rate cuts this year, shifting with changes in global interest rate curves. The markets are discounting the small chance of a cut in November or December, with a cut fully baked in by the middle of 2025.

Rates markets and, therefore, the Australian Dollar and ASX200 will likely shift based on marginal changes in tone about the balance of risks between growth and inflation. Specifically, the markets will gauge whether recent data and possibly the Federal Budget, has shifted risks and the forecasts the central bank updated in May.

(Source: ASX)

Technical analysis: ASX200

The ASX200 is currently rangebound, with rallies faded above 7800 and dips bought below 7600. 7200 represents a possible pivot point. Price action looks marginally bearish, with the RSI skewed slightly lower and the index potentially carving out a triple-top. A break and hold above range-resistance could be a bullish signal and point to a continuation of the market's longer-term uptrend. A push below 7600 could signal a deeper pullback and more bearish market conditions.

(Source: Trading View)

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The difference between trading assets and CFDs
The main difference between CFD trading and trading assets, such as commodities and stocks, is that you don’t own the underlying asset when you trade on a CFD.
You can still benefit if the market moves in your favour, or make a loss if it moves against you. However, with traditional trading you enter a contract to exchange the legal ownership of the individual shares or the commodities for money, and you own this until you sell it again.
CFDs are leveraged products, which means that you only need to deposit a percentage of the full value of the CFD trade in order to open a position. But with traditional trading, you buy the assets for the full amount. In the UK, there is no stamp duty on CFD trading, but there is when you buy stocks, for example.
CFDs attract overnight costs to hold the trades (unless you use 1-1 leverage), which makes them more suited to short-term trading opportunities. Stocks and commodities are more normally bought and held for longer. You might also pay a broker commission or fees when buying and selling assets direct and you’d need somewhere to store them safely.
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