Jobless rate needs to go lower for wage pressures to emerge: RBA

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Minutes of the Reserve Bank of Australia May monetary policy meeting noted that Board members agreed there was not a strong case for near-term move in policy, given current circumstances, board agreed next move in rates likely to be up, rather than down.

Annual wage growth climbed 2.1 per cent, in-line with forecasts, but only just above the all-time trough of 1.9 per cent and barely ahead of consumer price inflation. Financial markets are wagering this steady spell could last well into 2019.

With inflation running at 1.9 per cent, that means in real terms most workers have not seen any growth in their wages over the past year.

Australia's jobless rate has remained stubbornly stuck around 5.5 percent and levels of underemployment - those already working but wanting more hours - are near historical highs, a major factor weighing on wages.

"There is a risk it may take a lower unemployment rate than we now expect, to generate a sustained move higher [in wages growth]", asserts Debelle.

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Indeed, the RBA expects the unemployment rate to stay there by year-end.

Normally, I wouldn't quibble about decimal points but RBA deputy governor Guy Debelle's recent statement at the CFO Forum held in Sydney yesterday, quipped that "Recent data on wages provides some assurance that wages growth has troughed".

Meanwhile, the S&P/ASX 200 index traded 0.16 percent lower at 6,112.5 by 03:50 GMT, while at 03:00GMT, the FxWirePro's Hourly AUD Strength Index remained neutral at 53.56 (a reading above +75 indicates a bullish trend, while that below -75 a bearish trend).

The RBA said stricter lending criteria by banks had helped in containing the build-up of risk on household balance sheets.

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