Sydney - Australia's central bank on Tuesday left interest rates on hold at a historic low of 2.5 percent, in a widely expected move four days ahead of national elections.
The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) last month cut rates to their lowest level since it was established in 1959, underscoring fears of a slowdown as country's the decade-long mining boom slows down.
On Tuesday RBA governor Glenn Stevens said in a statement: “At its meeting today, the board decided to leave the cash rate unchanged at 2.5 percent.
“The easing in monetary policy since late 2011 has supported interest-sensitive spending and asset values, and further effects can be expected over time, including from the declines in rates seen over recent months.”
The economy has been a key focus of campaigning for Saturday's election, which opinion polls suggest centre-left Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will lose to conservative opposition leader Tony Abbott.
The RBA, which has cut rates by 25 basis points twice in 2013 - in May and August - said it would continue to assess the outlook and adjust policy as needed to foster sustainable growth in demand and inflation outcomes consistent with its target.
The dollar rose to 90.12 US cents immediately after the announcement, from 89.84 US cents just before.
The bank said although the local currency remains at a high level it has depreciated by about 15 percent since April, and it was possible that it could fall further over time, which would help to foster a rebalancing of growth in the economy.
The RBA said the economy has been growing a bit below trend over the past year and this was expected to continue in the near term as it adjusts to lower levels of mining investment.
On the global economy, it said recent information was consistent with growth running slightly below average this year, with “reasonable prospects of a pick-up next year”. - Sapa-AFP