APRA reaches out to major banks as housing credit picks up
The prudential regulator has asked the boards of major banks to confirm they’re maintaining a strong focus on lending ...
The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has announced the outcome of its final board meeting of the year.
The central bank has decided to leave the official cash rate on hold at 2.5 per cent – where it has remained since rates dropped by 25 basis points on 7 August 2013.
The continued period of stability is unlikely to shock anybody, with all experts, economists and commentators surveyed by comparison website finder.com.au accurately predicting today’s outcome.
Grant Harrod, CEO of real estate group LJ Hooker, and one of finder.com.au’s panel of experts, predicted rates would stay on hold because “there have been no unexpected economic movements over the past month”.
“The rate of house price growth has begun to slow thanks to listings rising to meet buyer demand,” he said.
Mr Harrod said the RBA’s neutral policy position was likely to continue into the New Year.
Mortgage and consumer finance expert Lisa Montgomery agreed, saying the economic signs were positive heading into 2015.
“It is likely the RBA will keep interest rates low for some time to come. Job ads are up, retailers are predicting a solid Christmas sale period, most economists are forecasting a softening Aussie dollar and consumer confidence continues to rise slowly – all positive signs for the economy as we head into a new calendar year.”
According to CEO of Raine & Horne, Angus Raine, the RBA needs time to understand the wider implications of global events, but will be happy to hold tight until the New Year.
“The RBA will want to digest higher Australian unemployment figures, and consider what is going on globally, with the Japanese and European economies still looking soft,” he said.
“However, on a domestic level, the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement will provide a boost for rural markets, while falling fuel prices should also mean Aussies have more money to spend in places other than the fuel pump.”
The RBA board does not convene in January and will next meet on 3 February, 2015.