The Reserve Bank of Australia has given the strongest hint it may start cutting interest rates in 2024 after imposing the steepest increases in almost three decades.
Borrowers in August have copped yet another 0.5 percentage point increase, taking the cash rate to a six-year high of 1.85 per cent.
This has seen a borrower with an average $600,000 mortgage endure another $169 in their monthly mortgage repayments – the fourth consecutive rate rise for Australian homeowners since May.
But the Reserve Bank, in a new 71-page monetary policy statement released on Friday, hinted it may start cutting interest rates by citing futures market predictions.
The Reserve Bank of Australia has given the strongest hint is may start cutting interest rates in 2024 after imposing the steepest increases in almost three decades (pictured is governor Philip Lowe)
‘The forecasts are based on some technical assumptions,’ it said.
Major banks lift rates
COMMONWEALTH BANK: Up 0.5 percentage points from August 12 taking lowest variable rate to 3.79 per cent
ANZ: Up 0.5 percentage points from August 12, taking lowest variable rate to 3.69 per cent
WESTPAC: Up 0.5 percentage points from August 18, taking lowest variable rate to 3.64 per cent
NAB: Up 0.5 percentage points from August 12, taking the lowest variable rate to 3.94 per cent
‘The path for the cash rate reflects expectations derived from surveys of professional economists and financial market pricing, with the cash rate assumed to increase to around 3 per cent by the end of 2022, and then decline a little by the end of 2024.
‘Market pricing suggests that policy rates will peak in the first half of 2023 at levels considerably higher than at the onset of the pandemic.’
A monetary policy easing in 2024 would be the first since November 2020 when the RBA cut the cash rate to a record-low of 0.1 per cent.
Inflation is now expected to climb to a 32-year high of 7.75 per cent by the end of 2022, a level more than double the RBA’s 2 to 3 per cent target.
This would mark a big jump from the two-decade high pace of 6.1 per cent in the year to June.
When the one-off effect of the GST introduction was excluded, this was the highest consumer price index since 1990.
‘In Australia, inflation is now the highest it has been since the early 1990s and is expected to peak at a higher rate than earlier envisaged,’ the RBA said.
Nonetheless, the Reserve Bank is now expecting inflation to moderate to 6.25 per cent by June 2023, falling to 4.25 per cent in December 2023, 3.5 per cent in June 2024 and 3 per cent in December 2024.
The 30-day interbank futures market has the cash rate peaking at 3.3 per cent in March 2023 and staying above 3 per cent throughout 2023
‘This moderation is expected to occur more slowly than previously assumed as higher energy costs partly offset declines in other input costs arising from the easing in supply chain pressures,’ the RBA said.
All of the major banks are expecting the RBA to raise rates again by another 50 basis points, or half a percentage point, in September with inflation expected to hit a new 32-year high later this year.
This would take the cash rate to a seven-year high of 2.35 per cent.
Three of the big four banks – Commonwealth Bank, ANZ and NAB – are expecting the Reserve Bank to keep raising rates until November while Westpac is forecasting the increases continuing until February 2023.
The 30-day interbank futures market has the cash rate peaking at 3.3 per cent in March 2023 and staying above 3 per cent throughout 2023.
ANZ has the cash rate reaching a 10-year high of 3.35 per cent by November while Westpac has the cash rate at that level by February 2023.
The Reserve Bank has revised its outlook for unemployment, predicting the jobless rate will fall from an existing 48-year low of 3.5 per cent, as of June, to 3.25 per cent in December.
All of Australia’s big four banks – the Commonwealth Bank, ANZ, Westpac and NAB in that order – on Thursday announced they would pass on the RBA’s latest increase.
The latest increase means a borrower with an average $600,000 mortgage will see their monthly repayments climb by $169 to $2,827 from $2,658.
What a 0.5 percentage point rate rises means for borrowers
$500,000: Up $141 from $2,215 to $2,356
$600,000: Up $169 from $2,658 to $2,827
$700,000: Up $197 from $3,101 to $3,298
$800,000: Up $225 from $3,544 to $3,769
$900,000: Up $253 from $3,987 to $4,240
$1,000,000: Up $281 from $4,430 to $4,711
Increases based on Reserve Bank cash rate rising from 1.35 per cent to 1.85 per cent taking popular Commonwealth Bank variable rate from 3.39 per cent to 3.89 per cent