Wages growth is rising slowly and inflation is falling faster than expected, and yet the RBA decided to hit the economy again with another rate rise.
Yesterday the Reserve Bank shocked markets and most economists by raising the cash rate to 3.85%. But it didn’t just contradict outside observers, it contradicted the views of the RBA board just one month ago when it decided to keep rates steady.
Policy director Greg Jericho, writes in his Guardian Australia column that in the month since the April RBA meeting data on inflation has suggested faster than anticipated slowing, the economy overall is now expected to slow more quickly, and there is no sign of long-term wages growth rising beyond what would be consistent with 3% inflation.
And yet despite this, the board decided to raise rates.
The decision smacks of a board reacting less to economic conditions and more to the recent Review of the RBA which recommended taking the decisions to change rates away from the current board.
The Reserve Bank suggested a month ago it needed time to pause and review. Nothing in the intervening time has suggested they made a mistake in not continuing to raise rate, and yet the bank seems determined to slow the economy and raise unemployment to 4.5%.
The bank is so beholden to neo-liberal views of the non-accelerating inflation rate of unemployment that it is determined to keep raising rates until unemployment rises to a level it believes is “full employment”.
We know the current level of inflation is largely driven by corporate profits and some overhang of supply-side issues and savings from the pandemic/lockdown period. At no point is there any sign that wages are rising in a manner that is fueling inflation and yet the RBA continues to attack inflation like we are experiencing the mining boom of the 2000s which saw wages and jobs grow strongly, rather than the current boom which is seeing profits grow exponentially and real wages plunge .
Tanya Martin Executive Assistant
Jake Wishart Senior Media Adviser