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, September 19, 2012

A slight contradiction in what the RBA is saying?

In the concluding paragraph to yesterday's RBA board minutes, which I have only just read (I was on holidays and not working/paying attention to these things), the central bank comments:

"The current assessment of the inflation outlook continued to provide scope to adjust policy in response to any significant deterioration in the outlook for growth. At this meeting, the Board judged that, with inflation expected to be consistent with the target and growth close to trend, but with a more subdued international outlook than was the case a few months ago, the stance of monetary policy remained appropriate."

Conceptually, this statement does not make sense: one of the RBA's single most important economic variables--its global growth forecast--had apparently fallen. Yet even accounting for this, policy still remained appropriate. This tells us one of two things: either policy was artificially stimulatory prior to the September meeting (eg, the last June cut was a mistake), or the RBA was a bee's dick away from cutting rates last month, but wanted to build the case.

There is no need for the RBA to fine-tune the cash rate on a month-to-month basis when it is receiving a lot of noisy information, and the actual signals are difficult to discern. This represents faux precision in policy-making.