August 17, 2018 / 1:03 AM / a year ago

Australia central bank watching effects of severe drought

SYDNEY (Reuters) - The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) is “very carefully” watching the effects of a severe drought that has wasted vast tracts of grazing and crop land in eastern Australia, the country’s main food bowl.

Australia recorded its fifth-driest July on record last month. It was the driest January-to-July period in New South Wales state since 1965 and marked seven consecutive months of below-average rainfall for the state.

RBA Governor Philip Lowe said the board discussed the drought at its last meeting on Aug. 7 and even looked at rainfall maps. Lowe was speaking in Canberra before a parliamentary economics committee.

Reporting by Swati Pandey and Wayne Cole; Editing by Michael Perry

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