Powered by MOMENTUM MEDIA
Powered by MOMENTUM MEDIA
subscribe to our newsletter

New cash rate record reached

The Reserve Bank of Australia has announced the official cash rate for May, setting a new record.

The board has decided to hold the cash rate at its record low of 1.50 per cent, for a record-breaking 21 months in a row or for the 19th consecutive rate change decision (the RBA does not announce a cash rate decision in January).

The decision had been widely predicted and came as no surprise to the assistant governor for financial markets at the RBA, Christopher Kent. 

Speaking at the Housing Industry Association breakfast in Sydney last week, Mr Kent said that the decision is a product of unemployment and inflation.

“What the RBA governor has made very clear is that what we’ve seen is a gradual decline in the unemployment rate over recent years, and what we’re forecasting [is] that continues to decline — but only gradually,” Mr Kent told an industry briefing last week.

Advertisement
Advertisement

“The same is true for inflation. A gradual rise and it is expected to continue to rise quite gradually. So, the fact that there is progress suggests that the next move in interest rates by us is likely to be up, not down, but the fact that it is gradual means that there is no particular rush to do that.”

Equally, of the 32 surveyed respondents on the finder.com.au panel, 31 (97 per cent) correctly predicted the cash rate to remain unchanged.

Only the former senior economist at Domain, Dr Andrew Wilson, had predicted an increase. 

“Latest data remains neutral for the current setting environment, with ABS March quarter CPI still clearly underwhelming,” Mr Wilson said.

“Predictable end to APRA market manipulation reflects generally moderated housing market activity, so RBA can concentrate on main macro game.”

PROMOTED FEATURES


AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver said that there were many reasons why the RBA kept the cash rate as is for another month.   

“Strong business conditions and employment, rising non-mining investment, strong global growth and the RBA’s own forecasts argue against a cut,” Mr Oliver said.

“But low inflation and wages growth, risks around the outlook for consumer spending, the slowing Sydney and Melbourne property markets and tightening bank lending standards argue against a hike.”

Mortgage Choice spokesperson Jacqueline Dearle said that the RBA would leave the cash rate as is until the economy can “better absorb” the impact of an increase and until inflation is at, or near, 2 per cent.

Economist at Corinna Economic Advisory Saul Eslake had also predicted a no-change verdict.

“None of the data released since the last meeting, nor anything else that has occurred since then, will have altered the RBA’s assessment of the economic outlook sufficiently to prompt a change in its view that current monetary policy settings are appropriate for the time being,” Mr Eslake said.

REA Group chief economist Nerida Conisbee said that although momentum seems to be slowly building in the Australian economy, it still isn’t at a point where interest rates will start to increase.

“We are now running at quite a different speed to large parts of the rest of the world,” Ms Conisbee said. 

“Our time will come, but it is taking a lot longer than expected.”

Both HIA Group senior economist Shane Garrett and LJ Hooker head of research Mathew Tiller called it correctly that the RBA would keep the cash rate at its current level. 

Mr Garrett said that there are no real inflationary pressures, while Mr Tiller said that inflation and wages growth remain “too soft” to see any movement in the cash rate.

Laing+Simmons managing director Leanne Pilkington was also unsurprised by the result. 

“The fundamentals have remained relatively static, meaning the RBA has no impetus to adjust interest rates at this time,” Ms Pilkington said. 

She also said that there remains a “strong argument” to leave the cash rate unchanged for the foreseeable future.

Ms Pilkington said: “Given stagnant house prices, the marked drop in investor lending and other macro challenges to the economy especially when the banks cannot be trusted not to hike rates independently.”

[Related: Interest-only borrowers face $7,000 mortgage hike: RBA]

 

New cash rate record reached
mortgagebusiness

Latest News

The major bank has reached a settlement with AUSTRAC to pay a record $1.3 billion penalty for over 23 million breaches of anti-money launder...

A mutual lender has signed a deal with a fintech lender to provide them with an initial $300 million in home loan funding. ...

A spike in credit provisions and COVID-related charges has triggered a 16 per cent fall in Heritage Bank’s earnings, offset by asset and d...

FROM THE WEB
podcast

LATEST PODCAST: How lenders are viewing the property price outlook

Do you expect to see strong uptake of the HomeBuilder scheme?

Website Notifications

Get notifications in real-time for staying up to date with content that matters to you.