RBA cuts interest rates to landmark low 1.50%

Tuesday 02 August 2016

Article by Kelly Emmerton

As the dust settles from Brexit and the Australian Federal Election, the Reserve Bank is shaking things up yet again, by cutting interest rates to an unprecedentedly low 1.50%.

The inflation data released in July, along with a need to promote economic growth, bolster the weak Aussie job market and keep the Aussie dollar low were cited as some of the main reasons for the cut.

In a statement, outgoing Governor Glenn Stevens said, "Low interest rates have been supporting domestic demand and the lower exchange rate since 2013 is helping the traded sector. Financial institutions are in a position to lend for worthwhile purposes. These factors are all assisting the economy to make the necessary economic adjustments, though an appreciating exchange rate could complicate this."

He added that "the likelihood of lower interest rates exacerbating risks in the housing market has diminished."

While this was by no means an unexpected outcome - at the end of last month, 24 out of 25 economists were predicting the move - some experts are already questioning whether it was the right one. They’re concerned particularly by the squeeze being put on retirees’ budgets by such low interest rates, which is likely to hinder economic activity, rather than promote it.

Exciting times for home loan borrowers

Record low interest rates are good news for at least one group - those borrowing money to buy a home are likely to see serious savings, with some providers already slashing interest rates on home loan products.

The last RBA rate cut in May saw 41 lenders pass on the full 0.25% rate reduction to customers, although others gave the rate cut the cold shoulder, passing on only partial cuts.

Our rate chasers will be keeping you in the loop about which lenders are passing on savings by updating our naughty or nice table below:

Head over to our comparison tables to see the rest of the rates on offer and compare home loans side-by-side.

Savers feel the squeeze

Aussies trying to build up a nest egg or living on their savings are not nearly so lucky this month. As the Reserve Bank drops the official cash rate to yet another record low, savers will need to be on the lookout for great deals if they want to maximise the potential of their rainy day fund, and retirees in particular will need to be careful that they’re getting the most bang for their savings buck.

On average, it took lenders 16 days to pass on May’s rate cut to borrowers - and just 11 to pass it on to those stashing their money away in a savings account or term deposit. We’ll be watching to see how quickly the newest interest rate reduction is passed along.

In the meantime, here’s where to park your hard earned cash for the best return:

Best savings accounts

ProductInterest rateSpecial conditions
ME Online Savings Account3.35%Ongoing bonus rate if you make a weekly Tap & Go purchase with the debit card attached to your ME Everyday Transaction Account
Bankwest TeleNet Saver3.25%Introductory rate for the first 4 months
RaboDirect High Interest Savings Account3.25%Introductory rate for the first 4 months
P&N Bank Hi Saver3.20%Introductory rate for the first 4 months
CUA eSaver Reward3.15%When you deposit $1,000 into a CUA transaction account each month.
RAMS Saver Account3.15%With a minimum deposit of $200 and no withdrawals in the month.

Top term deposits

Term deposits have taken a beating these past few months, but here are the best rates on offer at the moment:

Arab Bank Australia3.10%3 months
Australian Military Bank3.25%5 months
UBank3.01%6 months
Big Sky3.05%1 year
Big Sky3.10%2 years
Qudos Bank3.05%2 years
RaboDirect3.30%5 years

To find more great places for your stash, check out our saving accounts comparison table, and to keep up to date with the world of finance, don’t forget to subscribe to our monthly newsletter, the Mozo Banking Roundup.

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Read our last month Reserve Bank interest rates update