No change likely at final 2021 RBA meeting

Economists are not predicting any policy changes when the RBA meets for the last time this year.
Economists are not predicting any policy changes when the RBA meets for the last time this year.

The board of the Reserve Bank of Australia is set to gather for the final time this year, but economists do not expect it to make any change to its suite of policy measures this time around.

Since the last monthly board meeting it was confirmed the economy contracted in the September quarter as a result of the COVID-19 lockdowns in NSW, Victoria and the ACT.

The 1.9 per cent decline was smaller than expected, but still represented the third largest quarterly contraction on record.

But there are already signs of a strong recovery with jobs growing and retail spending rebounding smartly.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says he will be upgrading his growth forecast for next year when he hands down his mid-year budget review on December 16.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development warned last week the RBA needs to be vigilant about signs of rising inflation and that it may need to tighten monetary policy faster than it is currently anticipating.

Many economists agree that the RBA may be in a position to lift the cash rate from its record low 0.1 per cent earlier than 2024, a year the central bank still believes is possible.

AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver thinks the cash rate could start rising in late 2022.

"The main threat would be if Omicron turns out to be more deadly than Delta with vaccines offering little protection resulting in a return to lengthy lockdowns ... resulting in another year of disrupted growth," Dr Oliver said.

Aside from his post-board meeting statement on Tuesday, RBA governor Philip Lowe will also deliver a speech on Thursday.

However, the audience - the Payments Summit 2021 - suggests his address may only briefly touch on monetary policy.

Economic figures due for release this week will provide an update of how the labour market is behaving post-widespread lockdowns.

The ANZ will release its monthly job advertisement series for November on Monday and the National Skills Commission will issue its preliminary skilled job vacancies report for the same month on Wednesday.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics will release its latest payroll jobs report for the fortnight ending November 13, a dataset that has shown a sharp recovery over October.

Meanwhile, Australian shares will kick off the week under the shadow of another decline on Wall Street on Friday.

Uncertainties surround the Omicron variant continued to weigh heavily on investor sentiment.

While US payrolls rose by a less than expected 210,000 in November, the unemployment rate fell to 4.2 per cent, a level which is considered as full employment by some.

The US S&P 500 lost 38.71 points, or 0.85 per cent, to end at 4,538.39 points, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 64.78 points, or 0.19 per cent, to 34,575.01 and the Nasdaq Composite lost 292.16 points, or 1.90 per cent, to 15,089.16.

The Australian benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed on Friday up 16 points, or 0.22 per cent, to 7241.2 points.

Australian share futures were mixed, with the soon to expire December contract rising 11 points to 7260, but the March position shedding 52 points to 7105.

Australian Associated Press