RBA Keeps Interest Rates Unchanged
After the first interest rate meeting of this year, the Reserve Bank of Australia announced that it will maintain the benchmark rate at 0.1% and the three-year government bond yield target unchanged, in line with market expectations. However, the central bank also announced that it will expand the A$100 billion asset purchase program and will buy A$5 billion of government bonds every week beginning from mid-April. It is also expected that the central bank will not raise interest rates before 2024, one year later than originally expected at the end of last year.
New Zealand Unemployment Rate Exceeds Market Expectations
Statistics New Zealand announced that the unemployment rate unexpectedly dropped to 4.9% in the fourth quarter of last year, far better than the market expectations of 5.6% and 5.3% in the previous quarter. During the same period, the total employed population increased by 25,000 year-on-year. As for wages, the local hourly average wage unexpectedly increased by 1.1% quarter-on-quarter, also much higher than the market’s original expectation of 0.3%. The previous quarter’s growth was 1.3%. The data reflects that the job market is recovering rapidly from the ongoing pandemic, providing a strong support for the New Zealand dollar.