SYDNEY, Oct 2 (Reuters) - Australia's central bank cut its main cash rate by a quarter point to 3.25 percent on Tuesday, saying the growth outlook for next year looked a little weaker, while inflation was likely to remained contained within its target.
The Australian dollar plumbed a one-month low around $1.0309 as the market had priced in a two-in-three chance of a cut, while many analysts expected the bank would hold off until November. The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) announced the decision after its monthly policy meeting.
* RBA cuts its cash rate 25 bps to 3.25 pct, the lowest in three years. Brings total easing since last November to 150 basis points
* RBA says it is appropriate for monetary policy to be a little more accommodative, citing weaker global and domestic growth outlook.
* RBA statement says inflation will be be consistent with its 2-3 percent target range over the next one to two years.
* Text of the statement can be found on or by double-clicking on * The Reserve Bank's Web site is at: COMMENTARY:
SHANE OLIVER, HEAD OF INVESTMENT STRATEGY, AMP CAPITAL INVESTORS
"I think they have done the right thing. The global economy is looking a bit shaky. Certainly growth forecast has come down and meantime domestic indicators are not too bad, but they are probably not strong enough to fill the gap left by the softening mining sector. The bottom line is that with inflation remaining low, there's plenty of scope to cut rates."
"I expect them to cut rates further. We are looking to another 0.25 percent cut in November, and then another one in February or March next year, taking the cash rate to 2.75 percent."
The Australian dollar fell to $1.0309 after the policy announcement. Interbank futures were mixed with the front-month contracts turning positive as the market had not been fully priced for a move this week. The market still implies further easing toward 2.75 pct over time.
* A Reuters poll of 19 analysts had found 13 expected no change in rates this week, though most did anticpate a move by year-end.
* The RBA cut rates by 50 basis points in May and 25 bps in June, and then paused to judge the impact of the easing.
* Data suggests those cuts have had only a modest impact on domestic activity, with house prices just a shade firmer and credit growth still very subdued.
* More worringly, prices for key resource exports, iron ore and coal, have weakened markedly in the last few months leading some miners to row back on aggressive expansion plans.
* The local dollar has remained high even as export prices slid, threatening to be a drag on currency-sensitive sectors such as manufacturing and tourism.
* The global outlook also darkened as the European debt crisis pulled that region into recession, while China slowed more than many had expected. The Asian giant is Australia's single biggest export market.
* With domestic inflation subdued near the floor of the RBA's 2 to 3 pct target band, the central bank has indicated there would be scope for a rate cut if necessary.
(Reporting by Wayne Cole)
Keywords: AUSTRALIA ECONOMY/RATES