RBA keeps rates on hold for record 21st consecutive meeting

RBA keeps rates on hold for record 21st consecutive meeting
RBA keeps rates on hold for record 21st consecutive meeting

The sixth meeting of the Reserve Bank of Australia for 2018 saw no change in the official cash rate.

The central bank's last move saw it go to 1.5 percent at the August 2016 meeting, so rates have been held steady for 21 meetings.

It was 22 meetings ago that they last came down. 

Almost every economist predicted another hold.

CoreLogic's head of research Tim Lawless said it's looking more and more likely the cash rate will hold throughout 2019.

"Economic conditions remain reasonably stable, housing market growth continues to slow, household debt is at record highs, and inflation remains around the lower end of the RBA target range," Lawless said.

"With this scenario as a backdrop, the hold decision today from the RBA was widely anticipated. 

"It is looking increasingly as if the cash rate will hold at record lows throughout 2019; this is the view of financial markets where the ASX cash rate yield curve indicates the cash rate will remain on hold until at least November 2019."

He said focus is now moving to mortgage rates.

"We are increasingly seeing upwards pressure from overseas funding costs.

"Already, smaller banks and non-banks, who are generally more exposed to wholesale debt costs, are pushing interest rates higher for select mortgage products.

"Larger banks, who are more reliant on domestic deposits to fund their home loans, have less exposure to higher funding costs.

"However it is likely margin pressures are becoming evident across the big end of town as well. 

"Despite these early signs of some upwards pressure on mortgage rates, average variable rates remain almost 120 basis points below their decade average of 6.4%.

"Borrowers, particularly owner occupiers with principal and interest loans, should continue to expect a low mortgage rate over the medium term.

Joel Robinson

Joel Robinson

Joel Robinson is a property journalist based in Sydney. Joel has been writing about the residential real estate market for the last five years, specializing in market trends and the economics and finance behind buying and selling real estate.

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