For the second month in a row, the Reserve Bank of Australia has made a point of using the minutes of its board meeting to modify the impression given by its post-meeting announcement.
On Tuesday, just as it did in the minutes of its August monetary policy meeting, the central bank gave specific guidance about the likely path of interest rates that was only implied in the announcement after the meeting two weeks ago.
The announcement on September 3 did not rule out further cuts to the cash rate, which had already been reduced to a half-century low of 2.5 per cent in August, but it made no direct reference to the likelihood, or even the possibility, of another downward move.
But the minutes of that meeting, released on Tuesday, did.
"Members agreed that the Bank should again neither close off the possibility of reducing rates further nor signal an imminent intention to reduce them," the RBA said.
It was a repeat, almost word for word, of a comment in the August minutes.
And in both cases, it gave information to RBA-watchers that could only have been found in the post-meeting announcement by reading in the wide-open spaces between the lines.
In this case, the key message is that the RBA has maintained its "easing bias", albeit with a proviso that the bias is unlikely to be translated into lower interest rates right away, presumably at least not in October.
The November board meeting, soon after September quarter inflation figures, is the next plausible time for a cut.
In the minutes, the RBA said its earlier interest rate cuts and the falls in the still-high exchange rate would help the economy manage the transition from resource investment to other sources of demand.
"Some further decline in the exchange rate would be helpful in achieving such an outcome," the RBA said.
So, if the RBA does come down off the fence, the persistent failure of the non-mining parts of the economy to take off, and the refusal of the Aussie dollar to come down to Earth, are the most likely catalysts.
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