Australia's central bank posts 18% rise in 2018/19 profit on currency fall

FILE PHOTO: An ibis bird perches next to the Reserve Bank of Australia headquarters in central Sydney, Australia February 6, 2018. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz/File Photo

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia’s central bank posted an 18% jump in net profit last financial year, its annual report revealed on Thursday, as its foreign reserves were boosted by a sharp depreciation in the country’s currency.

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) posted net profit of A$4.55 billion ($3.09 billion) for the year-ended June 30 compared with A$3.85 billion in 2018.

The Aussie dollar AUD=D3 fell more than 8 percent last financial year, as concerns about slowdowns in both global and domestic growth hurt risk-sensitive assets.

The Reserve Bank transacts in the foreign exchange market on almost every business day. The majority of its transactions are associated with providing foreign exchange services to its clients, the most significant of which is the Australian government, to which it will pay A$1.7 billion.

Australia’s official reserve assets, which include foreign currency assets, gold and international reserve asset created by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), totaled A$77.5 billion as at June 30.

The RBA reported that staff costs rose 1.9% over the year, largely reflecting salary increases. While that is broadly in-line with industry pay rewards, it is well below the “3 point something” of wage growth that Governor Philip Lowe has repeatedly said he would like to see for a pick up in household consumption and inflation.

Lowe’s total remuneration during the year was A$1.06 million.

Reporting by Swati Pandey; editing by Jane Wardell