May 20, 2019

Australia likely to join the central banks cutting rates in 2019

Interest rates are very likely to come down in Australia after the country re-elected its conservative government in a snap election Saturday.

What's happening: Given last week's soft unemployment and inflation reports, "the Reserve Bank of Australia will have no choice but to cut interest rates next month and follow with additional easing in the fall," says BK Asset Management's Managing Director of FX Strategy Kathy Lien in an email to clients.

  • "The market is only pricing in a 69% chance of a June rate cut but we think the odds are closing to 90-95%."

That will likely mean good news for Australia's stock market if it follows the pattern set by New Zealand's rate cut last month. New Zealand's stock market has been one of the only global benchmarks to remain in the green since Trump reinvigorated the U.S.-China trade war earlier this month.

  • Quizzically, and to the chagrin of policymakers, the kiwi has strengthened against the U.S. dollar since the May 8 rate cut. The Australian dollar followed suit Sunday night.

The big picture: Australia would become the 3rd major central bank, following New Zealand and India, to cut rates this year. This was supposed to be the year of global quantitative tightening, but things are drifting in the opposite direction. Expect more central banks to cut rates as the year continues.

Go deeper: Australia is fighting to go 28 years without a recession

Go deeper

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

Brazil's Ministry of Health reported Sunday 15,813 new coronavirus cases and 653 more deaths within 24 hours. 362,211 have tested positive for the virus, which has killed 22,666 in the country.

By the numbers: Over 5.4 million people have tested positive for the virus as of Monday, and more than 2.1 million have recovered. The U.S. has reported the most cases in the world (over 1.6 million from 13.7 million tests). The U.K. is reporting over 36,800 deaths from the coronavirus — the most fatalities outside the U.S.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of midnight ET: 5,401,701 — Total deaths: 345,060 — Total recoveries — 2,149,407Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of midnight ET: 1,643,238 — Total deaths: 97,720 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,195Map.
  3. World: White House announces travel restrictions on Brazil, coronavirus hotspot in Southern Hemisphere Over 100 coronavirus cases in Germany tied to single day of church services — Boris Johnson backs top aide amid reports that he broke U.K. lockdown while exhibiting symptoms.
  4. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks headed into Memorial Day weekend Report finds "little evidence" coronavirus under control in most statesHurricanes, wildfires, the flu could strain COVID-19 response
  5. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Public employees brace for layoffs.
  6. Federal government: Trump attacks a Columbia University study that suggests earlier lockdown could have saved 36,000 American lives.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 40 mins ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

President Trump doubled down on his push to reopen schools, tweeting late Sunday: "Schools in our country should be opened ASAP."

Zoom in: Trump pushed back on NIAD Director Anthony Fauci cautioning against the move earlier this month, calling his concerns "not an acceptable answer."