January 24, 2020 / 12:21 AM / 2 months ago

Westpac economists now see RBA delaying rate cut to April

FILE PHOTO: A pedestrian looks at his phone as he walks past a logo for Australia's Westpac Banking Corp located outside a branch in central Sydney, Australia, November 5, 2018. REUTERS/David Gray

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Analysts at Westpac Banking Corp (WBC.AX) 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

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