RBA going steady in February as 1.50% cash rate remains unchanged

The Reserve Bank board has kicked off 2018 in exactly same way it ended 2017 - with no change to the official cash rate which remains steady at 1.50%.

Today’s announcement came as little surprise for most experts, with many suggesting that any rate change would be unlikely until the middle or end of the year at the earliest.

In his statement, Philip Lowe said that despite an uptick in the global economy and steady employment growth in Australia, inflation rates continued to remain low.    

“The low level of interest rates is continuing to support the Australian economy. Further progress in reducing unemployment and having inflation return to target is expected, although this progress is likely to be gradual,” he said.

While today’s announcement marked the 17th straight meeting of the cash rate staying on hold, Mozo Product Data Manager Peter Marshall suggested that the RBA may be interested in raising rates at some point in the near future, though factors such as wage growth and inflation may be holding them back.

“The RBA board has indicated that it wants to increase rates, but with wages remaining flat and inflation still sitting below 2% they just cannot do it at present,” Marshall said.

“However, if the global economy continues the way it’s going then there’s a good chance Australia will benefit from some of that strength and perhaps towards the middle or latter part of the year the RBA might have the scope it needs to increase rates - an opportunity I think they’ll jump at when they can. But a lot could happen in the next six months.”

Competitive rates make February a good time for borrowers

With the official cash rate at an historic low and a potential rate rise still a while off, borrowers still have an opportunity to take advantage of a range of competitive rates - particularly on home loans. But this may not last for long, with Mozo data indicating that fixed rates could be starting to climb as expectations surrounding an RBA rate rise continue to increase.

Check out some of the lowest home loan rates currently* in the Mozo database:

Best variable rate home loan offers

Best fixed rate home loan offers (3 year term)

Savers forced to remain patient

While the the unchanged cash rate may be good news for borrowers, Australians looking for the most rewarding place to stash their savings are finding it harder, with a number of cuts to both savings accounts and term deposit accounts in recent months.

“Investors are going to need to be patient because there’s no rate increase likely in the foreseeable future - it’s probably going to be at least six months away if things go well,” said Marshall.

“That doesn’t mean that there isn’t any value in the market, but it does require savers to do their due diligence and a bit of extra legwork when it comes to finding a rewarding deal.”

To help you get started, here are some of the best ongoing savings account and term deposit rates currently* in the Mozo database:

Best ongoing savings account offers

Best term deposit offers

For other great offers to boost your savings, head over to the Mozo term deposit and savings account comparison hubs.    

*Rates accurate as of February 6, 2018.

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