The author has been described by News Ltd as an "iconoclast", "Svengali", a pollie's "economist muse", and "pungently accurate". Fairfax says he is a "Renaissance man" and "one of Australia’s most respected analysts." Stephen Koukoulas concludes that he is "85% right", and "would make a great Opposition leader." Terry McCrann claims the author thinks "‘nuance’ is a trendy village in the south of France", but can be "scintillating" when he thinks "clearly". The ACTU reckons he’s "an enigma wrapped in a Bloomberg terminal, wrapped in some apparently well-honed abs."

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Do the financial markets think the RBA is serious about fighting inflation?

We had a very high first quarter core inflation number last week. The knowledgeable interest rate markets ignored it, and, more significantly, reduced the probability of rate hikes following the RBA's Statement yesterday. The Aussie dollar dropped more than two US cents. The probability of rate hikes kept on falling all day today until the AFR's previously very dovish David Bassanese shocked markets this afternoon arguing that the reaction to the RBA's Statement was way wrong, that hikes could come as soon as next month, and that the RBA will be upgrading all of its inflation numbers, with underlying inflation hitting a stonking 3.25% in 2013. But investors are confused. They don't know who to listen to. The markets certainly seem to be of the view that the RBA is not too worried about high inflation and will not raise rates until 2012, and then only once. This may be related to the fact that the RBA has missed its inflation target by 50 basis points per annum for 10 years, and did not hike rates following a quarter in which core inflation ran nearly 100 basis points above its target. It is, to be sure, a disappointing development, but the financial markets seem to think that this is a dovish RBA...Communicating indirectly via journalists does not seem to be cutting the mustard, either.