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What will the Reserve Bank do this week?

It has been a while since I have had a Reserve Bank poll here on the Mule. The Bank will be sitting down on Tuesday to decide whether or not they should adjust monetary policy. Westpac chief economist, Bill Evans, was the first of the bank economists to start predicting that the next move in the cash rate would be down┬áback in July. Since then, some other economists have come around to Bill’s perspective, particularly given the global financial chaos as European banks face a slow-motion bank run. Others are still expecting that the Reserve Bank’s bug-bear, inflation, will remain sufficiently threatening to ensure that the next move in rates is up. But perhaps it is too soon for the Bank to do anything at all.

What do you think? Get your vote in before the announcement is out at 2.30pm on Tuesday (Sydney time).


UPDATE: the results are in and Mule readers got it right: 93% of respondents thought there would be no change in cash rates, which was indeed the case. No-one predicted a rate rise.

Travels

This is a quick post to reassure regular readers that I have not given up the blog. The hiatus between posts has been due to travel. Seasons in Australia are not as distinct as they are in Europe and when I lived in England (many years ago) I always found the arrival of Spring the most striking illustration of this difference. True to my recollection, the European Spring put on an excellent show for this trip to England and Italy.

Wandering the streets of Rome, I came across a street called Via De’ Burro. While a burro is not exactly a mule*, it is a close enough relation to remind me that I was neglecting the blog and to inspire a quick photograph.

My family and I were not the only ones enjoying Spring in Rome. It had been many years since my last visit to Italy’s capital and I am convinced that there are more tourists there than ever. Perhaps good weather, a week of free museum admission and the lead-up to Easter were conspiring to swell visitor numbers, but I can only imagine that the crowds would be larger still by summer time. The photograph below shows the square in front of the Trevi fountain and I cannot help thinking that, while tourism is a big industry for Australia, we don’t really know what it means to be a serious tourist destination!

Of course, no trip to a non-English speaking country is complete without coming across bizarre English translations. The sign in the photo below was in the window of a restaurant near our hotel. What it means remains a mystery as it certainly did not tempt me to try their cuisine.

As well as Rome, the Italian leg of the trip took in Venice. Spring is an excellent time to visit Venice: excellent weather and not at all stinky!

Venice’s famous “Bridge of Sighs” was under renovation and partly shrouded in scaffolding. But I was able to photograph another Bridge of Sighs, named with a nod to the Venetian original. Before Italy, we spent some time in England and spent a beautiful Sunday morning punting down the river Cam in Cambridge. The bridge in Venice connects the court rooms in the Doge’s Palace to the prison cells and the name supposedly derives from the sighs of prisoners getting their last glimpse of freedom through the windows of the bridge. The connection of the bridge in Cambridge to the original is simply that both are covered stone bridges, regardless of how dim a view students of St John’s college may have taken of their studies at times.

Travelogues are not the usual fare here at the Stubborn Mule, so stay tuned for a return to more typical content soon!

* Thanks to Magpie for reminding me that while “burro” is donkey in Spanish, in Italian it means butter!