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RBA’s dovish stance set to be challenged

While the RBNZ this week hiked interest rates by 25bp and signalled that more is to come, the RBA remained dovish. That makes sense in light of the continued weakness in underlying inflation and wage growth, but we still think that soaring commodity prices will eventually prompt Australia’s union to demand higher wages amidst a tight labour market. The looming strike by the Transport Workers Union is a sign of things to come.
Marcel Thieliant Senior Japan, Australia & New Zealand Economist
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While the government’s Budget was focused on equipping households to withstand surging living costs, by adding to demand we think it will cause inflation to be higher over the next year. That’s all the more reason for the RBNZ to continue hiking rates aggressively throughout this year.

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Australia & New Zealand Economics Weekly

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While wage growth is set to reach 3% by the end of the year, this week’s labour market data didn’t contain any upside surprises that would convince the Reserve Bank of Australia to accelerate its hiking cycle at the upcoming meeting in June. Meanwhile, the opposition Labor party looks on track to win the federal election on Saturday. While Labor has only pledged slightly looser fiscal policy that would easily be offset by likely upward revisions to tax revenue, the party’s historical track record suggests that the budget deficit would shrink less rapidly than under the Coalition government over the coming years.

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RBNZ Watch

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More from Marcel Thieliant

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Australia- Sustained high inflation will prompt rate hikes in 2023

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Australia & New Zealand Economics Weekly

Soaring food and energy prices to keep inflation high

The spike in rural commodity prices should spill over into higher food inflation before long. And while the impact of higher energy commodity prices is less clear cut, we think electricity inflation is also set to rise. That’s why we think headline inflation is set to ease less sharply than the RBA anticipates next year. Amid early signs that soaring consumer prices will result in stronger wage growth, we expect the RBA to hike rates in early 2023.

1 October 2021
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