Monday, February 6, 2012

Softer inflation, negative retail sales add to case for interest rate cut. But still a close call.

A better outlook for inflation and bleak retail sales in the leadup to Christmas should combine to push the Reserve Bank board to cut interest rates tomorrow.

Listen to my analysis from today's edition of The World Today.

Join me on ABC News 24 tomorrow at 2.30pm AEST for live coverage of the interest rate decision.

The closely-watched inflation gauge from TD Securities and the Melbourne Institute posted a modest rise of 0.2 percent in January making an annual rate of 2.2 percent.

The soft result is in line with the RBA's forecasts which sees inflation heading to the bottom of the two to three percent target band.

Retail turnover went negative in December, according to the Bureau of Statistics, falling 0.1 percent - well below expectations for a positive result.

The one piece of conflicting data came from the ANZ job advertisements series, which showed advertisements in newspapers and on the Internet rose six percent in January.

ANZ says the result dampens expectations that the jobless rate could hit 5.5 percent this year.

The positive news underpins the ANZ's tip that interest rates could stay on hold at 4.25 percent tomorrow.

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