By David Winning
SYDNEY--Australia's central bank held interest rates steady at a record-low 1.50% Tuesday, holding off from further action as policy-makers balance concerns over tepid inflation and a mixed local jobs market with fears about an overheating property market.
The decision was widely expected, with the majority of 10 economists polled by The Wall Street Journal predicting the Reserve Bank of Australia would pause before deciding on any change in rates.
"Taking account of the available information, and having eased monetary policy at its May and August meetings, the board judged that holding the stance of policy unchanged at this meeting would be consistent with sustainable growth in the economy and achieving theinflation target over time," the RBA said in its statement accompanying the rates decision.
While inflation was stronger than expected in the third quarter, the RBA said Tuesday that it remained low and a sharp acceleration was unlikely for some time.
Consumer prices rose by 0.7% in the quarter, outstripping market expectations for an increase of just 0.5%. Inflation quickened to 1.3% from a year earlier, but still below the RBA's target range of 2% to 3%.
"Taking account of the available information, and having eased monetary policy at its May and August meetings, the board judged that holding the stance of policy unchanged at this meeting would be consistent with sustainable growth in the economy and achieving the inflation target over time," the RBA said in its statement accompanying the rates decision.
Economists point to weak core inflation readings, saying the RBA will look at these measures more closely than headline inflationnumbers.
Still, RBA Gov. Philip Lowe recently suggested the central bank is comfortable allowing inflation to remain below target for longer.
Economists at Australia and New Zealand Banking Group said the central bank's statement of monetary policy--due for release Friday--would be of more interest to the market.
"In particular we will be interested to see how the RBA balances a further downgrade of its inflation forecasts within its new, more flexible monetary policy framework," ANZ said in a note ahead of the RBA's rates decision.
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
October 31, 2016 23:50 ET (03:50 GMT)
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