May 21, 2020 / 2:47 AM / 17 days ago

Australia governor says future remains "unusually uncertain"

SYDNEY, May 21 (Reuters) - Australians are living through the biggest and the most sudden economic contraction since the 1930s and the future is unusually uncertain due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the head of the central bank said on Thursday.

In an effort to cushion the blow to its economy, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) slashed interest rates to 0.25% in an emergency meeting in March and launched an unlimited quantitative easing programme. The government is also splashing out cash, including a A$130 billion ($85.12 billion) wage subsidy scheme.

“Yet, despite all these efforts, the future remains unusually uncertain,” RBA Governor Philip Lowe said during opening remarks in an online panel discussion.

“One obvious source of uncertainty is the pace at which the various restrictions are eased. Another source of uncertainty is the level of confidence that people have about their future, both in terms of their health and their own finances.” ($1 = 1.5272 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Swati Pandey; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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