RBA going steady in February as 1.50% cash rate remains unchanged
Tuesday 06 February 2018
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
- Reduce Home Loans Rate Buster Variable - 3.39% (comparison rate: 3.47%)
- Freedomlend Variable Home Loan - 3.54% (comparison rate: 3.55%)
- Homestar Variable Rate Loan - 3.54% (comparison rate: 3.59%)
- Tic:Toc Variable Home Loan - 3.58% (comparison rate: 3.59%)
Best fixed rate home loan offers (3 year term)
- Move Lockit Home Loan - 3.69% (comparison rate: 3.96%)
- SCU Standard Fixed Rate Home Loan - 3.69% (comparison rate: 4.70%)
- Greater Bank Ultimate Home Loan - 3.74% (comparison rate: 4.45%)
- Newcastle Permanent Fixed Rate Home Loan - 3.74% (comparison rate: 4.59%)
- Queenslanders Credit Union Fixed Rate Home Loan Special - 3.78% (comparison rate: 4.36%)
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.”
Best ongoing savings account offers
- AMP B3tter Save Account - 3% (when you make a minimum deposit of $2,000 into your linked Bett3r Pay Account each month)
- UBank USaver - 2.87% (when you deposit at least $200 into the account or a linked Ultra Transaction Account each month)
- ME Online Savings Account - 2.85% (when you make a weekly Tap & Go purchase with your ME Everyday Transaction Account Debit MasterCard)
- RAMS Saver Account - 2.8% (when you make a minimum deposit of $200 and no withdrawals in the month)
- Australian Unity Active Saver - 2.8% (when you make a minimum deposit of $250 and no withdrawals in the month)
- ING Savings Maximiser - 2.8% (when you make a minimum deposit of at least $1,000 a month from a linked Orange Everyday bank account)
Best term deposit offers
- 1 year: 2.79% UBank
- 2 years: 2.90% Police Bank
- 3 years: 3.00% Big Sky, Greater Bank, Heritage Bank, Maitland Mutual, ME, PCCU, QBANK, Qudos Bank
- 4 years: 3.10% Greater Bank
- 5 years: 3.20% Greater Bank
*Rates accurate as of February 6, 2018.
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