At its meeting today, the Board decided to lower the cash rate by 25 basis points to 2.25 per cent, effective 4 February 2015.
Growth in the global economy continued at a moderate pace in 2014. China’s growth was in line with policymakers’ objectives. The US economy continued to strengthen, but the euro area and Japanese economies were both weaker than expected. Forecasts for global growth in 2015 envisage continued moderate growth.
Commodity prices have continued to decline, in some cases sharply. The price of oil in particular has fallen significantly over the past few months. These trends appear to reflect a combination of lower growth in demand and, more importantly, significant increases in supply. The much lower levels of energy prices will act to strengthen global output and temporarily to lower CPI inflation rates.
For the past year and a half, the cash rate has been stable, as the Board has taken time to assess the effects of the substantial easing in policy that had already been put in place and monitored developments in Australia and abroad. At today’s meeting, taking into account the flow of recent information and updated forecasts, the Board judged that, on balance, a further reduction in the cash rate was appropriate. This action is expected to add some further support to demand, so as to foster sustainable growth and inflation outcomes consistent with the target.