It's sometimes easy to tell from the very first sentence of its statement what the Reserve Bank's monetary policy committee is going to do about interest rates. Not this time. In July and in September, the committee opened its post-meeting statement saying risks to the inflation outlook were materialising and the inflation forecast had been revised upwards - but then opted to keep rates unchanged. This week, the committee began by saying the near-term inflation outlook had improved. It then cut the inflation forecast - but opted to raise interest rates. The controversial decision may well signal a shift in the way the committee implements inflation targeting, one which will make its decisions that much harder to predict. Two stand-out sentences in the committee's statements make that clear. The first comes in that opening sentence - the near-term outlook had improved, said the committee, "however, the longer-term risks to the inflation outlook remain elevated". The emphasis on the l...

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