RBA Rate Updates

Are interest rates going up or down? (22 August 2019)

While many economists are telling Aussies to expect more rate cuts, they may not arrive immediately.

Futures markets have priced in an 89 per cent expectation that the Reserve Bank will leave interest rates unchanged in September, up from around 50 per cent early last week.

The governor of the RBA, Dr Philip Lowe has signalled he is worried about a developing trade dispute between China and the USA. He described bullish trade war talk as “very worrying.”

“I do not have a clear idea of what strategy the US has,” said Dr Lowe.

And Chinese manufacturing is suffering, which could flow through to Australian mineral exports and jobs.

“No country has made itself wealthy and prosperous through protectionism,” said Philip Lowe. The US President Donald Trump jacked up the trade war rhetoric yesterday describing himself as “the chosen one” to take on China.

Read more about Donald Trump’s trade war and the impact it could have on your home loan at InfoChoice.

RBA says low rates are here to stay (6th August 2019)

The Reserve Bank board has left the official cash interest rate unchanged for August at 1.0 per cent.

A statement from the board noted increasing uncertainty in the global economy caused by trade and technology disputes as well as lower than expected economic growth in Australia in the first half of 2019.

The budgets of Aussie households are “weighed down” by low income growth and declining housing prices said the board.

Unemployment is up slightly to 5.2 per cent and inflation edged higher to 1.6 per cent.

Australians should expect a long period of low interest rates. The RBA board said:

“It is reasonable to expect that an extended period of low interest rates will be required in Australia to … reduce unemployment and [make] progress towards the inflation target.”

The Australian National University’s ‘RBA Shadow Board’ of nine respected economists has predicted a 33 per cent probability of more rate cuts and 38 per cent probability of rate increases over the remainder of 2019.

Australia's Current Interest Rate is 1.00%

The board of Australia’s government-owned central bank, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) sets the Australian official cash interest rate (OCR) on the first Tuesday of each month, except January. 

InfoChoice tracks the RBA’s rate changes, reports changes within minutes of the RBA making an announcement and gives you the information you need to find the best mortgage and savings rates in Australia for your own circumstances.

The RBA cut interest rates on 2 July by 0.25 percentage points to 1.00 per cent. This follows a 0.25 percentage point cut in June.

Rising unemployment was cited in a statement from the RBA issued today as a key reason for this rate cut.

“There has … been little inroad into the spare capacity in the labour market recently, with the unemployment rate having risen slightly to 5.2 per cent,” said the RBA statement.

Over the last 12 months (to 31 March 2019), the RBA said the “Australian economy grew at … below-trend 1.8 per cent.”

“Consumption growth has been subdued, weighed down by a protracted period of low income growth and declining housing prices.”

What is the RBA’s official cash interest rate?

The OCR effectively sets the wholesale price of lending in Australia. When the RBA changes this rate, the banks and other lenders follow by changing their retail variable lending and savings interest rates. If the RBA puts the OCR up, your variable home loan and savings accounts rates will probably also rise. A cut in the OCR means your loan and account rates may also be cut.

The lowest variable rate home loans available in Australia are priced about two per cent above the RBA’s OCR. The lowest variable rate mortgages on offer from the big four banks start from about three per cent above the OCR.

The highest savings account rates in Australia are about one per cent over the OCR. 

Fixed rate home loan rates and term deposit rates are not based on the RBA’s OCR and do not follow movements in the official cash rate. 

The RBA operates independently of government and is charged with maintaining low unemployment and low inflation. When inflation falls or unemployment rises, the RBA may consider cutting rates. When unemployment falls, or inflation rises sharply, the RBA may consider raising rates.

Last Meeting: 6 August 2019

Next RBA Meeting: Tuesday 3 September