Policy actions during COVID The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has taken a number of complementary policy actions to support the Australian economy since the onset of COVID. The RBA has lowered its policy interest rate to near zero, set a target for the 3-year government bond yield, enhanced its forward guidance, commenced a program of purchasing government bonds and provided long-term low-cost funding to the banking system. I will explain each of these actions in more detail shortly.
International economic developments Members commenced their discussion of international developments with a cross-country review of economic activity and developments in labour markets during the pandemic. A recurring theme was that Australia had fared relatively well in terms of output levels and labour market outcomes. The December quarter 2020 national accounts showed that GDP in Australia had recovered to close to pre-pandemic levels, whereas GDP was still considerably below pre-pandemic levels in many other countries. The loss of output over 2020 as a whole had also been smaller in Australia than in many other countries. This reflected both the relatively smaller initial decline in output in Australia and the swift recovery since then.