In the last Reserve Bank of Australia meeting, the bank paused interest rates. However, it still signaled more interest rate hikes could be to come. What was the main concern that meant the RBA signaled there could be more hikes to come? In a word, it was inflation.

Australia’s inflation is taking longer to tackle

Australia’s headline inflation print has pulled back from a 30-year high, but it is selling way above the RBA’s 2% target at 7%.

The core reading (Trimmed mean) is also similarly resilient with a print of 6.6% in March this year.

So, the RBA is at a tricky point in its monetary policy cycle. On one hand, it wants to stop hiking rates, but on the other hand, stubborn inflation has given it pause for thought. In the last meeting, the RBA stated that ‘the balance of risks on inflation (had shifted) to the upside compared with a month earlier’. However, it also thinks that inflation has ‘passed its peak’ and is forecast to return to the target range by mid-2025.

What to watch for the AUD

The headline is expected to fall to 6.2% from 7%. The core (trimmed mean) is expected to fall to 6% from 6.6%. Expectations are as follows, courtesy of Financial Source’s economic data tracker:

So, looking at the above we can see that a headline that prints below 5.8% and a trimmed mean below 5.9% will surprise markets. This would be the most probable trading opportunity as a downside print would give the RBA confidence to remain on hold for rates. That should result in AUD downside with AUDNZD losing value out of the meeting. This is one key data point to watch as the RBA is watching the data closely.