Australia's central bank is sounding more upbeat about a pick-up in economic activity, but high household debt and slow wage growth mean interest rates are set to stay at all-time lows for some while yet, minutes of its June policy meeting showed on Tuesday.

The Reserve Bank of Australia expects economic growth to crest above 3% this year, helped by strong exports and public spending.

However, policy makers saw a downside risk to the global economic outlook from trade tensions between the United States and China, as well as broader tariff disputes.

On Friday, the White House enacted tariffs on USD 50 billion in Chinese goods. Beijing quickly responded with a 25% levy on 659 U.S. products, worth USD 34 billion, ranging from soy beans and autos to seafood.

The latest spat knocked the AUD to a one-year low on Tuesday, a development that should support exports and please the central bank.

The RBA has repeatedly warned that any rise in the currency could hurt economic growth and inflation at home.

Australia's GDP jumped to 3.1% last quarter from the December quarter's 2.4%, the fastest annual expansion in almost two years.

However, inflation was still below the RBA's 2-3% target band as wages growth crawled near the slowest pace on record. Also, there was still some spare capacity in the labour market, despite a surge in jobs since early 2017.

The RBA sees further, yet gradual, progress in reducing unemployment and returning inflation to target.

Only last week, Governor Philip Lowe said any increase in cash rates was still "some time away" as wage growth and prices remain tepid.

The RBA last cut rates to 1.5% in August 2016 and has since notched up the longest period without a move in modern history. Financial markets are wagering this steady spell could last well into 2019.

The outlook for household consumption remained a source of uncertainty, "given that household income growth had been slow and debt levels remained high," the minutes showed.

The RBA said stricter lending criteria by banks had helped cool housing markets and contain the build-up of risk on household balance sheets.

Subscribe to premium content!

  • Daily trading ideas - click to view sample report
  • Entry, target, stop-loss levels
  • Position size in lots
  • Short analysis to each trade
  • Forex newsletter - latest currency market news and trading ideas
  • Access to premium content on MyFXspot.com

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Cron Job Starts