Philip Lowe: Covid, our changing economy and monetary policy

Address by Mr Philip Lowe, Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia, at the Committee for Economic Development of Australia Annual Dinner, Sydney, 16 November 2020.

The views expressed in this speech are those of the speaker and not the view of the BIS.

Central bank speech  | 
16 November 2020

Thank you very much for the invitation to speak at CEDA's annual dinner. After so many webinars and Zoom meetings, it is great to be able to be here in person.

2020 has been a year like no other and one we will never forget - a global pandemic, the closure of our borders, the biggest economic downturn in nearly a century, a very large budget deficit, interest rates down to zero and QE by the RBA. None of this was expected at the start of this year. Unfortunately, it guarantees that 2020 will be a year that is talked about for decades to come.

Yet through these difficult times, the underlying strengths of the Australian economy and people have been on display.

Our economy has performed better than many others in challenging circumstances.

We have had more success in containing the virus than many other countries.

Australia's public institutions have worked effectively and constructively together.

Our public sector balance sheets are strong and have been used to good effect to cushion the shock.

Our financial institutions have also helped people and businesses manage their mortgages and their debts.