Australia gov says zero rate unlikely but possible

CANBERRA, Aug 9 (Reuters) - Australia’s top central banker said on Friday it was possible that the country’s benchmark cash rate could go as low as zero from 1% now and that policymakers were studying in “great detail” overseas experiences in unconventional monetary policy.

“It’s possible we end up at the zero lower bound. I think it’s unlikely but it is possible,” Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) Governor Philip Lowe said, responding to questions during a parliamentary economics committee hearing in Canberra.

“We are prepared to do unconventional things if circumstances warranted. I hope we can avoid that.”

Earlier, in prepared remarks Lowe said Australia’s economy may be at a “gentle turning point” though interest rates will still remain at historic lows for an extended period. (Reporting by Colin Packham in CANBERRA and Swati Pandey in SYDNEY; Editing by Sam Holmes)