MNI BRIEF: RBA Must Avoid "Crunching" Economy - Treasurer
Australian Treasurer Jim Chalmers cautioned the Reserve Bank of Australia on Wednesday about "crunching the economy" after it hiked rates for a ninth consecutive meeting on Tuesday.
"The independent Reserve Bank is trying to get on top of this inflation challenge. They need to do that without crunching the economy and because the Reserve Bank is independent, I'm not going to pre-empt or predict or second guess the decisions that they take independently," Chalmers said. The RBA Tuesday raised rates 25bp to 3.35%, the highest level since 2012, warning further policy tightening was needed. (See MNI RBA WATCH: Hawkish Shift Puts 25bps On Table In March)
Chalmers also highlighted his concerns about the impact of higher rates as a wave of mortgages are set to roll over from fixed rates to variable rates. The bank's head of economic analysis, Marion Kohler, last week warned more than 800,000 loans worth around AUD350 billion would roll over from fixed rates to variable rates this year. (See MNI BRIEF: Wage Hikes To Play Out 'A Bit further'-RBA's Kohler)