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Australian central bank to reassess economic outlook in February 2020

Policymakers at the Reserve Bank of Australia agreed to reassess their economic outlook in February 2020 as they left the cash rate unchanged at 0.75% earlier in December, according to the minutes of their latest monetary policy meeting.

Members of the bank's monetary policy committee acknowledged during the meeting that there were "signs of stabilization" in many economic indicators, especially for the manufacturing industry, the minutes showed. However, the policymakers were concerned about the persistently low growth in household incomes, which they said was weighing on the outlook for consumption.

The central bank said that while unemployment and GDP growth rates had been broadly consistent with forecasts, members agreed that "it would be concerning if there were a deterioration in the outlook."

Policymakers also kept the door open to further easing, noting that it was "reasonable" to expect that an "extended period" of low interest rates would be needed to attain full employment and the inflation target.

RBA Governor Philip Lowe has maintained the central bank's outlook for inflation, which is projected to fall short of the 2% to 3% target range in 2020 to 2021.

The monetary policy committee members are reviewing the effects of the previous three rate cuts on the economy, according to the minutes. "They noted in particular that the available evidence suggested that more stimulatory monetary policy had been working through the usual channels," the central bank said.