The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) had on May 5 left the cash rate at 0.25 percent, as expected, and recommitted to buying as much government debt as needed to keep three-year bond yields near 0.25percent. The minutes showed board members discussed a range of economic scenarios in their policy deliberations, with the baseline case for gross domestic product to fall by 10 percent in the first half and 6 percent for all of 2020. “An economic contraction of such speed and magnitude would be unprecedented in the 60-year history of Australia’s quarterly national accounts,” the RBA said.
“Members noted that the nature of the contraction and the expected recovery was also unprecedented because they were driven by public health measures, rather than induced by economic or financial factors.”
Australia has not suffered a technical recession, or two consecutive quarters of contraction, since the early 1990s.
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5.46am update: Asia shares and oil rally on vaccine hopes
Asian shares jumped on Tuesday and oil extended gains on optimism the global economy would recover quickly following a successful early-stage trial of a coronavirus vaccine, while the euro hovered near a two-week top.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside of Japan rose 1.5 percent to two-week highs.
Australia’s benchmark index and Hong Kong’s Hang Sang were the lead gainers, up 2 percent each, South Korea added 1.8 percent while China’s blue-chip index climbed 0.8 percent.
Japan’s Nikkei added 2 percent to the highest since early March.