May 1, 2020 / 5:44 PM / a month ago

Australia central bank policy rate seen steady until end-2021: Reuters poll

FILE PHOTO: Two women walk 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 is all but certain to keep its cash rate at a record low 0.25% at its May 5 meeting with policy likely to remain unchanged through end-2021, according to a Reuters poll of 23 economists.

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has forecast the country would suffer its biggest economic contraction since the 1930s in the first half of this year due to containment measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

To blunt the economic shock, the RBA cut rates to all-time lows in March and launched an “unlimited” quantitative easing programme aimed at keeping three-year bond yields at 0.25%.

RBA Governor Philip Lowe has said repeatedly the bank would not take rates further down.

The Reuters survey showed all but one of the 23 economists polled expect the RBA to keep rates steady at least until end-2021.

Editing by Shri Navaratnam

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