Australian central bank leaves rates on hold

Australia's central bank kept interest rates steady at 3.00 percent Tuesday, saying downside risks in the global economy appeared to have eased while there were signs previous cuts were working.

At its monthly meeting in Sydney, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) decided to keep its cash rate where it has been since December, a historic low last reached in 2009 in the wake of the global financial crisis.

"The board's view is that with inflation likely to be consistent with the target, and with growth likely to be a little below trend over the coming year, an accommodative stance of monetary policy is appropriate," RBA governor Glenn Stevens said.

A year ago the RBA's cash rate was 4.25 percent and Stevens acknowledged there had been a significant easing in monetary policy during 2012.

"Though the full impact of this will still take more time to become apparent, there are signs that the easier conditions are having some of the expected effects," Stevens said.

Analysts had widely expected the RBA to keep interest rates on hold and the Australian dollar was trading at US$1.0234 after the announcement, up from US$1.0214 earlier in the day.