Australia's central bank skipped a chance to ease and held rates at 3.25 percent on Tuesday citing higher inflation at home and an improved global background, though it still left the door open for more stimulus if needed.
The Australian dollar jumped half a cent as the market had been divided on whether the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) would choose to reinforce the impact of its October easing with a cut to 3 percent. In the end, it chose to pause.
At today's meeting, with prices data slightly higher than expected and recent information on the world economy slightly more positive, the Board judged that the stance of monetary policy was appropriate for the time being, RBA Governor Glenn Stevens said after the bank's monthly policy meeting.
Analysts saw the use of for the time being as a sign the bank still had an easing bias and might yet chose to move in December or perhaps February depending on incoming data. (The RBA board does not meet in January.)
There are a few things they are worried about, but not sufficiently so that they have to do anything about it right now, said Stephen Walters, chief economist at JPMorgan. We do think they'll cut. We've got December.
A majority of economists polled by Reuters had expected a cut this week, but markets had been less sure, pricing in around a 50-50 chance of a move. The steady decision saw the Australian dollar climb to a five-week high on its U.S. counterpart at A$1.0426, while the euro sank to a two-month trough at A$1.2256. Investors rowed back wagers on the scale of future easing with interbank futures now implying a 56 probability of a cut by Christmas, down from almost 100 percent previously.
Overnight indexed swaps, which essentially show where the market thinks the cash rate is heading, put rates at 2.87 percent in 12 months against 2.74 percent on Monday. MINING PEAK ON HORIZON
Leaning against a cut this week was a surprisingly high reading for underlying inflation in the third quarter, which picked up to an annual 2.5 percent to be back in the middle of the RBA's long-term target band of 2 to 3 percent.
The global outlook has also become a shade less gloomy, with data pointing to some stabilisation in China and steady, if slow, improvement in the United States.
The RBA has already eased by 150