CANBERRA, Australia (AP) – Australia’s central bank governor says the country’s benchmark interest rate could remain at an all-time low until 2024, despite inflation fueled by the pandemic.

The Reserve Bank of Australia’s board has said it will not raise interest rates until inflation is in the target range of 2% to 3%, Governor Philip Lowe said at a Sydney Forum of Economists.

“The outlook for inflation is more uncertain than it has been for some time, but our main scenario is that core inflation will hit the midpoint of the target by the end of 2023,” Lowe said.

This alone will not lead to a hike in rates from the all-time low of 0.1%, where it has remained since November 2020. The council will also consider the economic outlook, Lowe said.

“Therefore, it is still likely that the first hike in the money rate will not occur until 2024,” he said.

According to him, the latest data and forecasts do not give reason to consider a rate hike in 2022.

Inflation in Australia has risen, as have prices in many parts of the world, as the economy recovers from the pandemic, but the pressure is less pronounced than in many other countries.

According to Lowe, price increases in Australia by 0.7% in July-September and by 2.1% over the previous year were higher than expected.

In the United States, the consumer price index rose 6.2% in October from a year earlier, the largest 12-month jump since 1990.

Gasoline prices in Australia have increased by 24% over the past year. But electricity prices in Australia are dropping in part due to increased production of wind and solar power.

In the year to June, the number of Australian paychecks increased by less than 2%.

Inflation in Australia is likely to rise further, but gradually decline over the next 18 months, Lowe said.