Canada, Europe cut rates. Can Australia follow with monetary policy easing?



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Job advertisements fell 4.7 month on month in March, according to the most recent report from Seek, and they are 18.6 per cent lower compared to the previous year. Applications per job ad rose everywhere except the Australian Capital Territory, where they fell 3 per cent, in a key sign the labour market is slowing.

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Appearing before the Senate last week and ahead of the Bank of Canada and European Central Bank’s decision, RBA governor Michele Bullock said the board would begin lowering interest rates when there were clear signs inflation was coming into the bank’s target range of 2 per cent to 3 per cent.

Oliver said former RBA governor Philip Lowe’s “narrow path” for curbing inflation without triggering an economic downturn was getting narrower and the “risk of falling off the path into recession is higher”.

He said the economy had so far been buttressed by population growth and savings buffers, but the former was weakening and the latter was “close to running out”.

The economy grew by just 0.1 per cent over the first three months of 2024, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics figures released last week. However, for the fifth consecutive quarter, economic activity declined on a per capita basis.

Jun Bei Liu, lead portfolio manager at the $1.7 billion Tribeca Investments Partners, said all the data, including the Fair Work Commission’s decision last week to lift the minimum and award wages rate by 3.75 per cent, pointed to signs the economy was slowing down.

“The sticky component of the inflation will gradually ease off,” said Liu. “The underlying economy is not collapsing; it’s slowing as expected, but it’s not collapsing. Corporate earnings are also slowing but not collapsing. All in all, the sharemarket is holding up OK. On interest rates, certainly the next move is down.”

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