The Reserve Bank of Australia has kept official interest rate unchanged at 4.5% for another month, in line with economists’ expectations.

In a statement, RBA Governor Glenn Stevens said the global economy has continued to expand, but that growth remains uneven with debt problems in Europe clouding the outlook for the rest of the year.

“Caution in financial markets has been evident in the past couple of months, driven principally by concerns about European sovereigns and banks but also by some uncertainty about the pace of future global growth.

“Financial prices have been more volatile and equity prices and government bond yields in major countries have declined. Some tightness in funding markets is evident, though not on the scale seen in late 2008.”

Stevens also noted the labour market has “continued to firm gradually”, and that underlying inflation will likely be in the upper half of the board’s target band for the rest of the year.

Most economists say the RBA is likely to wait until it sees official inflation data, which is released on 28 July, before it makes another move on rates.

Stevens said interest rates are now sitting at “their average levels of the past decade”.

“Pending further information about international and local conditions for demand and prices, the Board views this setting of monetary policy as appropriate.”

Peter Fray

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