Westpac economists now see RBA delaying rate cut to April

SYDNEY, Jan 24 (Reuters) - Analysts at Westpac Banking Corp now expect the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) will cut interest rates in April, rather than February, following a second month of surprisingly upbeat jobs data.

In a note to clients, chief economist Bill Evans said the dip in unemployment to a nine-month low of 5.1% in December was probably enough to delay a cut.

“It is sufficiently strong a signal for the Board, which has emphasised the labour market as a key policy driver, to opt for a deferment of the rate cut process pending further information,” said Evans.

The RBA holds its next policy meeting on Feb. 4 and the market had already sharply scaled back the chance of an easing following Thursday’s employment report.

Reporting by Wayne Cole; Editing by Sam Holmes