When is the next RBA decision? Monetary policy meetings explained

Collage of people sending money over their phones

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) is in charge of Australia’s monetary policy, meaning the central bank watches the economy for highs and lows and changes policy to smooth everything over. 

In particular, the RBA watches inflation and avoids recessions where possible. The board members of the RBA will meet regularly throughout the year to check in with the Australian economy and see if action is needed. If inflation is out of control or GDP growth is down too much, they will adjust their monetary policy, such as hiking or cutting the official cash rate

Decisions from RBA policy meetings have big impacts on everyday Aussies. Cash rate decisions can affect everything from the interest rate you receive on savings accounts to the interest rate you pay on home loans, as well as business revenues, the AUD exchange rate, and employment rates. 

So often does the RBA meet? And what sorts of decisions can they make?

RBA interest rate decisions

Historically, the RBA board has met 11 times a year. They hold meetings on the first Tuesday of every month except January to review economic statistics and make a decision. The RBA governor then hands down the outcome to the public. 

Usually, the RBA only announces decisions if they change official monetary policy, but since 2020, they have been releasing statements regardless of the outcome. This is primarily thanks to the extraordinary intervention required to keep the economy on an even keel during the pandemic. 

When is the next RBA board meeting?

The next RBA board meeting is 6-7 May 2024. An interest rate decision will be announced on the second day of the 2-day meeting at 2:30 pm. 

Here is the RBA interest rates calendar for 2024:

  • 5 - 6 February
  • 18 - 19 March
  • 6 - 7 May
  • 17 - 18 June
  • 5 - 6 August
  • 23 - 24 September
  • 4 - 5 November
  • 9 - 10 December.

Key changes for the RBA in 2024

Collage of man hiking up an interest rate arrow

In April 2023, the Australian treasury released an RBA review which made 51 recommendations for improvement, including suggestions for how and when the RBA board will meet. Many of these changes will now officially go into effect in 2024. 

From 2024, the RBA will only meet 8 times per year instead of 11. This spreads monetary policy decisions, such as rate hikes, across fewer meetings and allows the board to gather more information about how decisions have affected the economy. 

Board meetings will be scheduled for February, March, May, June, August, September, November, and December. The RBA will not meet on April, July, and October next year.

Board meetings will also take longer. Typically the RBA will meet on a Tuesday morning and make an announcement by 2:30 pm AEST, but now they will meet Monday afternoons and pick up again on Tuesdays. Statements will still be released at 2:30 pm AEST. This will allow board members to sleep on any discussions they’ve had. 

Board members will also be held accountable for decisions made as a collective. Previously all RBA post-meeting statements have been made by the current RBA governor in their name alone, but now the whole nine-member board will take credit. The RBA governor will hold a post-meeting speech and media conference at 3:30 pm once the decision has been made. 

How do RBA interest rate decisions affect your cost of living?

Woman budgets on her laptop before an upwards cash rate arrow

Decisions from the Reserve Bank can indirectly affect how much money you spend on the cost of living

If the economy is in trouble, the RBA can change its monetary policy in a few ways. Its primary tool is the official cash rate, which banks and lenders use as a guide when pricing variable interest rates on home loans, savings accounts, and term deposits. Cash rate decisions may also affect personal loans and credit cards, but they aren’t nearly as sensitive. 

The RBA encourages people to stop spending and save money by raising the cash rate because interest rates on home loans and deposits will rise. Expensive home loans can affect everything from property prices to rental prices from landlords (whose investment mortgages also get affected). 

On the other hand, cutting the cash rate makes home loans cheaper and deposits less attractive. This encourages spending and injects fresh cash into the economy. 

The RBA will raise interest rates if inflation is too high and lower them if spending is too low. The goal is to keep the economic highs and lows from veering too hard in either direction. High inflation erodes people’s savings, while recessions hurt businesses and worsen unemployment. Neither is good, so the RBA works hard to avoid both. 

Currently, inflation is too high, so the RBA has raised interest rates to slow down consumer spending. RBA board meetings have hiked the cash rate from 0.10% in May 2022 to 4.10% in July 2023. 

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