Australia’s Lowe says he hopes to be in role this time next year

14th December 2022 By: Bloomberg

Australian central bank Governor Philip Lowe reaffirmed his desire to stay in the top job as his seven-year term approaches its end and amid ongoing calls for him to resign.

“My term finishes in September. I’ve got an important job to do and at least up until then I intend to do it,” the Reserve Bank chief said Wednesday, responding to a question about this future following a speech at an annual payments summit in Sydney.

When asked if he’d join the conference again next year, Lowe said “it’s not in my control. I hope so, but we’ll see.”

Speculation about the central bank’s leadership has gathered pace as a government-initiated independent review has been looking at everything from the RBA board’s composition to its policy mandate. Treasurer Jim Chalmers said last week the review will guide his decision on whether to reappoint Lowe.

The review is due to submit its final report in March.

Lowe acknowledged there have been calls for him to resign and reiterated that he had “no intention” of doing so. Greens Senator Nick McKim has said the governor should step down for encouraging “hundreds of thousands of Australians” to take out mortgages on the basis that interest rates wouldn’t rise before 2024.

Lowe abandoned that guidance this year and delivered the Reserve Bank of Australia's (RBA’s) sharpest annual tightening in 33 years to tackle spiraling inflation. The central bank has raised rates by 3 percentage points from a record low 0.1% in May and signaled further increases are likely.

“I have an important job to do,” Lowe said today. “It’s a responsible job and I intend to do it. We’ve got to get inflation down and that’s my focus and I will keep doing that at least until mid-September next year.”

When questioned in March whether he’d be “tempted away” from the RBA by a major corporate role, Lowe said that wouldn’t happen, reiterating that he enjoys his work.

“I perfectly understand if some time next year the government would decide it’d be better if somebody else had the opportunity that I have,” Lowe said at the time. “If they ask me to stay on, that would be perfectly fine as well. I’ll do whatever I’m asked to do.”