The minutes of the RBA board meeting of June 3 are on the RBA website. For a non-biased summary of the current state of the Australian and some other economies it is hard to beat.
There are articles in various newspapers about the content of the minutes, and reading them is probably more instructive regarding what line the journo/editor wants to push than what the minutes actually say ... anyway the minutes themselves are a relatively easily understandable read.
The Australian article.
Some of the more interesting aspects of the minutes (for me anyway):
"Members welcomed the reappointment of Ms Broadbent to the Board for a third five-year term, commencing 7 May 2008." (She is a legend!)
"The Board’s discussion of the world economy commenced with a briefing on the outlook for Australia’s trading partners. Estimated GDP growth for trading partners in the March quarter had been strong, at 1¼ per cent. Staff forecasts continued to be for some slowing over the course of the year, leading to annual growth of around 4 per cent in both 2008 and 2009. This was expected to result from weakness in the industrial economies and a moderation to a still firm pace of growth in the emerging economies." This is positive for continued Australian exports.
Retail sales flat.
"Near-term outlook for housing activity remained relatively weak."
Business borrowing has slowed sharply.
Sustained strength of the labour market (a lagging indicator), but moderation expected.
Rise in government bond yields in major markets reflecting an increased focus on inflation risks.
In deciding to leave the cash rate unchanged in Australia,
"Board members noted that the bulk of indicators becoming available over the past month continued to suggest moderation in the growth of domestic demand"
BUT... "there remained considerable uncertainty in the forecasts for demand and inflation, as there were strongly opposing forces operating on the economy. While financial conditions were working to moderate demand, the rise in Australia’s terms of trade that was currently occurring would work in the opposite direction, and would add substantially to national income and ability to spend. There was also a high degree of uncertainty about the international economic outlook, in particular the extent of the slowdown that was occurring in the developed economies. Conditions in international financial markets, though gradually improving, also remained difficult."
Economists in financial institutions will spend a lot of time dissecting the minutes for clues about future monetary policy direction (i.e. interest rate direction) ... I think the intentions of the RBA are outlined very clearly in the minutes and a DIY dissection is relatively easy.