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Repeats Story Initially Transmitted at 00:05 GMT Oct 2/20:05 EST Oct 1
By Sophia Rodrigues
     SYDNEY (MNI) - The Reserve Bank of Australia is expected to leave its cash
rate unchanged at 1.5% on Tuesday, with the overall tone its policy statement
little-changed. 
     The only key changes are likely to be commentary on the housing market and
household debt.
     The outcome will be in line with the unanimous view of both the economists
and market players expectation for the cash rate to be left on hold for the
thirteenth straight meeting. For the first time in a long time, economists are
also unanimous in their view that the 1.5% cash rate is the low point for this
cycle.
     The cash rate decision is due at 1430 local time (0330 GMT).
     Many expect the cash rate to be raised in 2018, with a few expecting the
first hike as early as first quarter. But there are some who expect the rate to
remain on hold even through the end of 2019, Westpac and JP Morgan among them.
     Between the last cash rate statement in September and the next one Tuesday,
there have been two speeches by Governor Philip Lowe and one by Assistant
Governor for Economics Luci Ellis. The speeches and the Q&A have all conveyed
the RBA's upbeat view on recent data releases and the outlook for the economy.
     So there's little new that could be expected from the cash rate statement,
apart from a more positive comment on employment growth and the worry on the
outlook for household consumption.
     One paragraph that could see a change is the one related to the housing
market and household debt, because the board meeting will also include a
discussion on financial stability ahead of the release of half-yearly Financial
Stability Review on October 13. 
     The RBA may express satisfaction with the response of the housing market so
far to tightening of lending standards by the Australian Prudential Regulation
Authority. But it may reiterate that growth in housing debt has been outpacing
the slow growth in incomes.
     The commentary on global growth and markets is expected to remain
unchanged.
     On the domestic economy, the statement is expected to confirm GDP growth in
the second quarter was in line with its expectation and repeat that the RBA
still expects growth to average around the 3% mark over the next several years.
     The comments on employment growth will remain upbeat and maybe mention that
the participation rate has increased, which is another positive. But the RBA may
also point to the elevated underemployment rate, which indicates continued slack
in the economy and highlights the concern that a wage growth pick-up will be a
gradual process.
     No change is likely to the statement's concluding paragraph: 
     "The low level of interest rates is continuing to support the Australian
economy. Taking account of the available information, the Board judged that
holding the stance of monetary policy unchanged at this meeting would be
consistent with sustainable growth in the economy and achieving the inflation
target over time."
--MNI Sydney Bureau; tel: +61 2-9716-5467; email: sophia.rodrigues@marketnews.com

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