What are Australian mortgage holders supposed to make of the strange story that preoccupies The Australian Financial Review today, that Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe almost died from a blood clot in his neck in 2016? Mortgage holders who almost certainly face another big rise in their mortgage repayments when Lowe and the RBA board decide to hike interest rates tomorrow.
We've come a long way from the days of the Alan Greenspan-inspired central bank approach of revelling in obscurity, with monetary policy communications carefully fed to the cognoscenti and left as a matter of Kabbalah-like interpretation for markets and commentators. Lowe has not merely taken to giving the occasional media conference but submitted to be grilled by Leigh Sales on 7.30. Delphic utterances have been replaced with regular speeches and Q&As. Now we're getting Lowe's medical history.
While it's gratifying that Lowe survived and fully recovered from his episode, and is now thankfully fit and well, what prompted the governor to share the tale with John Kehoe of the Fin? That's not exactly the press organ the RBA needs to win over in its rate-hiking mission. The AFR has been demanding rates for long before the RBA began lifting them.