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14/8

The Reserve Bank has again kept the cash rate unchanged, and is likely to do so for some time yet.;

The cash rate has now been at a record low of 2.5 per cent for 12 months. In a statement accompanying the RBA's August rate decision, governor Glenn Stevens maintained his familiar phrase that "the most prudent course is likely to be a period of stability in interest rates". Continued low interest rates were expected to help growth strengthen over time, although growth was expected to be "a little below trend over the year ahead", Mr Stevens said. He noted that recent data showed an increase in inflation, affected by the decline in the exchange rate last year. "But growth in wages has declined noticeably and is expected to remain relatively modest over the period ahead, which should keep inflation consistent with the target even with lower levels of the exchange rate," he said. HSBC chief economist Paul Bloxham said while the Australian dollar remains high, it is mostly due to overseas factors beyond the Reserve Bank's control. "The RBA would clearly like a lower Aussie dollar to help with Australia's great rebalancing act," Mr Bloxham said. "But they can't do much about it." "We think they seem quite comfortable where they are, and we don't think they'll do anything for the rest of the year." Mr Bloxham said there were few surprises coming from the decision to keep the cash rate on hold, with many of the themes in previous months' statements being repeated. Commonwealth Bank chief economist Michael Blythe said he didn't expect any changes to the cash rate this year. "We've already had 12 months without a change in interest rates so that period of stability is already quite lengthy," he said." "In our forecasts we have them starting to nudge interest rates up from February next year." In the statement, Mr Stevens cited concerns about the declines in resource sector investment. Mr Blythe said there was uncertainty about whether other parts of the sector would pick up the slack. "There's still an uncertainty about how quickly this growth transition they've been trying to engineer is occurring," he said. The unchanged rate would lead to continued growth in the housing sector, he said. "From a growth perspective the pick-up in residential construction is one part of the transition that is there to be seen," he said. http://finance.ninemsn.com.au/pfproperty/owning/8125069/rba-leaves-interest-rates-on-hold

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