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Steve Campbell: RBA likely to move to quarterly tightening in 2023

Inflation data due in January will set the scene for another rate hike in February. But from there the pace should slow, says Pendal’s head of cash strategies STEVE CAMPBELL

THIS week’s 25-point rate rise probably won’t be the last — but the Reserve Bank’s pace of tightening is likely to move from monthly to quarterly increments next year.

The cash rate will now sit at 3.1% for the summer. The RBA’s next monetary policy statement is due on February 10.

Between now and then we will see fourth quarter inflation data released on January 25.

It will be high. The annual headline inflation rate will be around 8% for 2022.

This will set the case for another hike in February.

Tuesday’s RBA statement contained nothing new. The central bank remains data dependent while the global outlook has deteriorated.

Domestically the labour market remains tight. Economic growth has been strong and household spending will start to slow due to policy tightening delivered so far.

For some this is yet to occur, given the higher-than-usual number of fixed-rate mortgages that are yet to reset.

This is the reason why the RBA doesn’t need to be as aggressive. Fixed-rate mortgages at rates around 2% will be resetting closer to 5.5% mid next year.

The RBA acknowledges they are walking a tight rope.

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“The path to achieving the needed decline in inflation and achieving a soft landing for the economy remains a narrow one.”

The further they push policy, the harder the landing becomes.

The RBA doesn’t want to cause a recession. But given a choice of embedded higher-inflation expectations or better growth, the former wins out for any central banker.  

The longer-term task is no simpler.

Policy action to date “has been necessary to ensure that the current period of high inflation is only temporary”, the RBA statement said. “High inflation damages our economy and makes life more difficult for people.”

In a speech late last month RBA governor Phil Lowe pointed out that variability in inflation outcomes was more likely to increase than what we’ve become accustomed to.

He cited four key areas where supply issues in the longer term will occur:

  1. Reversal of globalisation
  2. Demographics
  3. Climate change
  4. The energy transition in the global economy.

The RBA has under-shot or over-shot its 2-3% target band more often than not over the past 15 years.

More variability in inflation outcomes? Who would want to be a central banker.

Central banks have tightened policy significantly over 2022 — and that will weigh on demand over 2023.

The current Christmas spendathon — where we are let loose for the first Christmas in three years — will hold activity up for now. But it’s unlikely continue into the new year hangover.

The supply side of the global economy is also likely to see capacity increase and downward inflationary pressure next year.

The supply issues that have resulted from the pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will resolve over time.

But with it comes another set of challenges. And those are more likely to be skewed towards higher inflationary pressure in the longer term.

About Steve Campbell and Pendal’s Income and Fixed Interest team

Steve Campbell is Pendal’s head of cash strategies. With a background in cash and dealing, Steve brings more than 20 years of financial markets experience to our institutional managed cash portfolio.

Find out more about  Pendal’s cash funds:

Short Term Income Securities Fund

Pendal Stable Cash Plus Fund

Pendal’s Income and Fixed Interest boutique is one of the most experienced and well-regarded fixed income teams in Australia.

The team won Lonsec’s Active Fixed Income Fund of the Year award in 2021 and Zenith’s Australian Fixed Interest award in 2020.

Find out more about Pendal’s fixed interest strategies here

This information has been prepared by Pendal Fund Services Limited (PFSL) ABN 13 161 249 332, AFSL No 431426 and is current at November 2, 2022. PFSL is the responsible entity and issuer of units in the Pendal Short Term Income Securities Fund (Fund) ARSN: 088 863 469. A product disclosure statement (PDS) is available for the Fund and can be obtained by calling 1300 346 821 or visiting www.pendalgroup.com. The Target Market Determination (TMD) for the Fund is available at www.pendalgroup.com/ddo. You should obtain and consider the PDS and the TMD before deciding whether to acquire, continue to hold or dispose of units in the Fund. An investment in the Fund or any of the funds referred to in this web page is subject to investment risk, including possible delays in repayment of withdrawal proceeds and loss of income and principal invested. This information is for general purposes only, should not be considered as a comprehensive statement on any matter and should not be relied upon as such. It has been prepared without taking into account any recipient’s personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of this, recipients should, before acting on this information, consider its appropriateness having regard to their individual objectives, financial situation and needs. This information is not to be regarded as a securities recommendation. The information may contain material provided by third parties, is given in good faith and has been derived from sources believed to be accurate as at its issue date. While such material is published with necessary permission, and while all reasonable care has been taken to ensure that the information is complete and correct, to the maximum extent permitted by law neither PFSL nor any company in the Pendal group accepts any responsibility or liability for the accuracy or completeness of this information. Performance figures are calculated in accordance with the Financial Services Council (FSC) standards. Performance data (post-fee) assumes reinvestment of distributions and is calculated using exit prices, net of management costs. Performance data (pre-fee) is calculated by adding back management costs to the post-fee performance. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. Any projections are predictive only and should not be relied upon when making an investment decision or recommendation. Whilst we have used every effort to ensure that the assumptions on which the projections are based are reasonable, the projections may be based on incorrect assumptions or may not take into account known or unknown risks and uncertainties. The actual results may differ materially from these projections. For more information, please call Customer Relations on 1300 346 821 8am to 6pm (Sydney time) or visit our website www.pendalgroup.com

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