RBA 'likely to cave in to pressure and cut the cash rate'

PRESSURE on the Reserve Bank to cut the cash rate intensified on Monday after Australian Bureau of Statistics data showed retail activity was unchanged in October.

The RBA board will meet for the final time in 2012 on Tuesday, with most economists predicting it to cut the cash rate by at least 25 basis points.

There were other bad signs for the economy on Monday, with ANZ showing the number of job advertisements on the internet and in newspapers fell 2.9% in November, following a decline of 4.6% in October.

Capital city housing markets are also stagnant, with the monthly RP Data-Rismark Home Value index flat in November.

On the ABS statistics, food retailing (0.9%) was the only sector to enjoy a rise in turnover for the month, but was offset by falls in household goods retailing (-1.6%), other retailing (-0.5%), cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (-0.3%), department stores (-0.1%) and clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (-0.1%).

Turnover rose in the Northern Territory (3.5%), Western Australia (1.2%), Queensland (0.5%) and New South Wales (0.1%).

Market economist Adam Carr said the RBA would likely cave in to pressure and cut the cash rate, although he thought it should hold fire.

Mr Carr also expressed concern about the special interest groups that called for a cash rate cut every month regardless of market conditions.

He said these groups were putting "short-term sectoral interests" ahead of long-term stability.

"It concerns me a great deal because they are all so myopic - very few people genuinely think about the long-term national interest," he said.

He said other recent data showed the economy remained strong.

It was not an opinion shared by Market Economics managing director and former Labor adviser Stephen Koukoulas who took to Twitter to criticise the central bank for not cutting earlier.

The RBA left the cash rate on hold last month, having trimmed it by 1.5% in the past year.

He urged the RBA board to "wake up", citing the poor retail sales data.

"Looking at the run of data this year, the RBA has done a worse job that I first thought anticipating the slowdown. Cash rate shld be 2.5% now," he tweeted.

"RBA need to take a lot of heat over its pig-headedness on inflation, optimism on global growth, misread of fiscal policy and AUD effects.

"With no RBA meeting in January, I wonder how much pressure there will be on the RBA to go 50 bps tomorrow?"
HSBC Australia, which was already predicting a 25 basis points cut, said it was even more confident of a cut on Tuesday after the release of the retail data.

Rismark International CEO, Ben Skilbeck said if the RBA does cut it any effect on the housing market would not begin to show until well into the new year, taking into account historically weak housing sales in December.

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