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By Lachlan Colquhoun
     SYDNEY (MNI) - The Reserve Bank of Australia has sharply downgraded growth
forecasts for the domestic economy and says that "a lack of progress" in
returning inflation to its target could create conditions for an interest rate
cut.
     The RBA's quarterly Statement on Monetary policy (SoMP), released Friday,
revises Australia's December 2019 quarter GDP growth down to 2.8% from the 3.6%
forecast in November last year and anticipates a lower 2.4% growth in Q2 2019.
The previous forecast for this quarter was 3.2%.
     The RBA said recent economic data meant that the balance of probabilities
on either a rate cut or rise had "shifted to be more evenly balanced than
previously."
     The SMP noted the main drivers for policy will be continual falls in the
unemployment rate - now at 5.0% - and a gradual rise in inflation to the target
range of between 2% and 3%.
     MORE
--MNI London Bureau; tel: +44 203-586-2225; email: les.commons@marketnews.com
[TOPICS: MMLRB$,M$A$$$,M$L$$$]
MNI London Bureau | +44 203-865-3812 | les.commons@marketnews.com