RBA Meeting Minutes March 2013 – Construction Activity

Construction Activity

The RBA’s March 2013 meeting minutes were issued today and with respect to the property market, the minutes stated “non-residential building approvals remained low and office vacancy rates had risen over recent quarters, reflecting softening demand for office space.”

Members also observed that “dwelling construction activity had picked up further in the December quarter.
Forward-looking indicators such as building approvals pointed to further growth
in construction in the months ahead. The increase in approvals had been
geographically widespread and the Bank’s liaison with builders also suggested
there had been an improvement in buyer interest in some states. Overall, recent
housing market developments pointed to a further moderate increase in dwelling
construction in the period ahead.”

The Board decided to leave the cash rate unchanged at 3.0 per cent.

With inflation likely to remain around the middle of the inflation target,
members judged that there would be scope to cut the cash rate further to support demand, should that be necessary. At this meeting, the Board’s assessment was that, while further reductions may be required, on the information currently to hand it was appropriate to hold rates steady, and to assess further developments over the period ahead.