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At its meeting today, the Board decided to leave the cash rate unchanged at 3.25 per cent.

Global growth is forecast to be a little below average for a time. Risks to the outlook are still seen to be on the downside, largely as a result of the situation in Europe, where economic activity is still contracting. Risks elsewhere seem more balanced. The United States is recording moderate growth, while recent data from China suggest growth there has stabilised. Around Asia generally, growth has been dampened by the more moderate Chinese expansion and the weakness in Europe.

Key commodity prices for Australia remain significantly lower than earlier in the year, though trends have been more mixed over the past couple of months, with some prices recovering some ground while others declined further. The terms of trade have declined by about 13 per cent since the peak last year, but are likely to remain historically high.

Financial markets have responded positively over the past few months to signs of progress in addressing Europe’s financial problems, but expectations for further progress remain high. Long-term interest rates faced by highly rated sovereigns, including Australia, remain at exceptionally low levels. Capital markets remain open to corporations and well-rated banks, and Australian banks have had no difficulty accessing funding, including on an unsecured basis. Borrowing conditions for large corporations are similarly attractive. Share markets have generally risen over recent months.

In Australia, most indicators available for this meeting suggest that growth has been running close to trend over the past year, led by very large increases in capital spending in the resources sector. Looking ahead, the peak in resource investment is likely to occur next year, at a lower level than expected six months ago. As this peak approaches, the Board will be monitoring the strength of other components of demand.

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