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RBA: VIEW: Less than two months after pushing back their forecast for the first
hike in the Reserve Bank of Australia's cash rate in this cycle, economists at
National Australia Bank think there is a chance that the timing may be delayed
further. In a note published Wednesday, NAB's chief economist Alan Oster is
pointing to new downside risks to the outlook from global trade wars and the
local labor market. The increasing potential for trade wars could lower global
growth and reduce Australian prospects, he said. There are also some emerging
signs of softness in the leading indicators on employment growth, he added.
These new risks are in addition to existing concerns about the outlook for
consumption and NAB economists think that even with moderate uptick in wages,
consumption growth may not do much better than 2.5% over the forecast horizon.
On the upside, they now see the probability of new investment from the mining
sector. Overall, NAB sees the balance of risks as neutral "but possibly a touch
to the downside." They are retaining the view that the RBA would start to raise
the cash rate from May 2019 but this is very data dependent and "it would well
be that the timing may be delayed."