Reserve Bank hints at cash rate cut and other 'intervention'

author-avatar By on September 22, 2020
Reserve Bank hints at cash rate cut and other 'intervention'

Photo by Alex Rhee on Unsplash

In a speech today Reserve Bank deputy governor Guy Debelle hinted at negative interest rates and other 'interventions' to assist the economy.

After two cash rate cuts down to 0.25% in March, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has previously said there is no appetite for further reductions.

While Mr Debelle said the effects of negative interest rates were "mixed", he did not rule them out.

"In the short-term, they can contribute to a lower exchange rate," he said.

"In the medium term, the effectiveness can wane including through the effect on the financial system.

"Negative rates can also encourage more saving as households look to preserve the value of their saving, particularly in an environment where they are already inclined to save rather than spend."

Already, the traded cash rate effectively sits at 0.13% due to the Reserve Bank's Term Funding Facility and monetary easing policies.

Earlier in the month, data showed the savings rate skyrocketed, off the back of JobKeeper and increased JobSeeker, to its highest level since 1974.

Buying a home or looking to refinance? The table below features home loans with some of the lowest variable interest rates on the market for owner occupiers.

Lender
Advertised rate Comparison rate Monthly repayment Rate TypeOffsetRedrawOngoing FeeUpfront FeesLVRLump Sum RepaymentAdditional RepaymentsPre-approval

VariableMore details
LIMITED TIME OFFER

Smart Booster Home Loan Discounted Variable - 2yr (LVR < 80%)

  • Fast turnaround times, can meet 30-day settlement
  • For purchase and refinance, min 20% deposit
  • No ongoing or monthly fees, add offset for 0.10%
LIMITED TIME OFFER

Smart Booster Home Loan Discounted Variable - 2yr (LVR < 80%)

  • Fast turnaround times, can meet 30-day settlement
  • For purchase and refinance, min 20% deposit
  • No ongoing or monthly fees, add offset for 0.10%
VariableMore details
100% FULL OFFSET ACCOUNTNO APPLICATION FEE OR ONGOING FEES

Low Rate Home Loan - Prime (Principal and Interest) (Owner Occupied) (LVR < 60%)

  • No upfront or ongoing fees
  • 100% full offset account
  • Extra repayments + redraw services
100% FULL OFFSET ACCOUNTNO APPLICATION FEE OR ONGOING FEES

Low Rate Home Loan - Prime (Principal and Interest) (Owner Occupied) (LVR < 60%)

  • No upfront or ongoing fees
  • 100% full offset account
  • Extra repayments + redraw services
VariableMore details
REFINANCE IN MINUTES, NOT WEEKS

Nano Home Loans Variable Owner Occupied, Principal and Interest (Refinance Only)

  • Refinance only. Fast online application
  • No Nano fees. Free 100% offset sub account
  • Mobile app, Visa debit card & instant payments
REFINANCE IN MINUTES, NOT WEEKS

Nano Home Loans Variable Owner Occupied, Principal and Interest (Refinance Only)

  • Refinance only. Fast online application
  • No Nano fees. Free 100% offset sub account
  • Mobile app, Visa debit card & instant payments
VariableMore details
YOU COULD WIN $100k TO PAY DOWN YOUR LOAN*

Owner Occupier Accelerates - Celebrate (LVR < 60%) (Principal and Interest)

  • For a chance to win $100K towards your home loan, apply with Athena before Oct 31 & be approved by Dec 15
  • We lower your rate based off how much you’ve paid down your loan
  • Automatic rate match
YOU COULD WIN $100k TO PAY DOWN YOUR LOAN*

Owner Occupier Accelerates - Celebrate (LVR < 60%) (Principal and Interest)

  • For a chance to win $100K towards your home loan, apply with Athena before Oct 31 & be approved by Dec 15
  • We lower your rate based off how much you’ve paid down your loan
  • Automatic rate match
VariableMore details
AN EASY ONLINE APPLICATION

Yard Home Loan (Principal and Interest) (Special) (LVR < 70%)

  • Unlimited additional repayments
  • Unlimited free redraws
  • Optional 100% offset can be added for $120 p.a.^
AN EASY ONLINE APPLICATION

Yard Home Loan (Principal and Interest) (Special) (LVR < 70%)

  • Unlimited additional repayments
  • Unlimited free redraws
  • Optional 100% offset can be added for $120 p.a.^

Rates correct as of October 27, 2021. View disclaimer.

Today Mr Debelle also hinted at other levers the RBA can pull to stimulate the economy despite sluggish inflationwage growth and employment levels.

Mr Debelle said one option is to intervene in the foreign exchange rate, to deliberately lower the exchange rate and make exports more attractive, as the AUD to USD soars past $0.70

"However, with the Australian dollar broadly aligned with its fundamentals, it is not clear this would be effective in the current circumstances," he said.

"That said, a lower exchange rate would definitely be beneficial for the Australian economy, so we are continuing to watch developments in the foreign exchange market carefully."

The Reserve Bank places 'fundamental value' of the Australian Dollar in the 60 US cents range. 

The effectiveness of JobKeeper and increased JobSeeker

Mr Debelle highlighted the effectiveness of JobKeeper and the increased JobSeeker rate, as well as rent deferrals and early super withdrawals.

"While GDP and employment recorded very large declines, household income actually rose," he said.

"This is quite a remarkable and highly unusual outcome. Normally in recessions, household income falls along with the decline in output and employment."

In August, AMP found that the levels of government assistance actually boosted household incomes by about $5,000 in the June quarter despite higher unemployment.

However, Mr Debelle said the assistance was not "overdone".

"The fact that household income rose in the quarter does not mean that the stimulus was overdone," he said.

"Absent the stimulus, the decline in GDP and employment would have been significantly larger and there would have been much greater financial hardship."

This corroborates Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) research that found the number of people in poverty declined 13%, and without such assistance, the poverty rate would have doubled.

JobKeeper and JobSeeker are due to be scaled back at the end of this week.

The Victorian handbrake on the economy

The RBA's deputy governor said a few major economic health indicators are being dragged down by Victoria's heightened coronavirus numbers and associated lockdown.

"Hours worked declined by 10% from peak to a trough around early May," Mr Debelle said.

"Since then they have grown by around 6% nationally, though that is being held back by the impact of the lockdown in Victoria.

"We estimate that the lockdown in Victoria has subtracted around 2% from national GDP in the September quarter.

"The virus is having its effect, particularly because of the lockdown in Victoria, but so too is the shortfall in demand that occurs in recessionary conditions.

"That shortfall in demand will be a significant brake on the recovery. Until households and businesses are confident about future demand and income, they will be reluctant to spend and invest."

Westpac's consumer confidence index bounced back in September, surging 18% on August's index, as the Australian Retailers Association said we need to spend our way out of the recession, with retail trade volatile throughout the pandemic.


Disclaimers

The entire market was not considered in selecting the above products. Rather, a cut-down portion of the market has been considered which includes retail products from at least the big four banks, the top 10 customer-owned institutions and Australia’s larger non-banks:

  • The big four banks are: ANZ, CBA, NAB and Westpac
  • The top 10 customer-owned Institutions are the ten largest mutual banks, credit unions and building societies in Australia, ranked by assets under management in November 2020. They are (in descending order): Great Southern Bank, Newcastle Permanent, Heritage Bank, Peoples’ Choice Credit Union, Teachers Mutual Bank, Greater Bank, IMB Bank, Beyond Bank, Bank Australia and P&N Bank.
  • The larger non-bank lenders are those who (in 2020) has more than $9 billion in Australian funded loans and advances. These groups are: Resimac, Pepper, Liberty and Firstmac.
  • If you click on a product link and you are referred to a Product or Service Provider’s web page, it is highly likely that a commercial relationship exists between that Product or Service Provider and Savings.com.au

Some providers' products may not be available in all states. To be considered, the product and rate must be clearly published on the product provider's web site.

In the interests of full disclosure, Savings.com.au, Performance Drive and Loans.com.au are part of the Firstmac Group. To read about how Savings.com.au manages potential conflicts of interest, along with how we get paid, please click through onto the web site links.

*Comparison rate is based on a loan of $150,000 over a term of 25 years. Please note the comparison rate only applies to the examples given. Different loan amounts and terms will result in different comparison rates. Costs such as redraw fees and costs savings, such as fee waivers, are not included in the comparison rate but may influence the cost of the loan.

Latest Articles

author-avatar
Harrison is Savings.com.au's Assistant Editor. Prior to joining Savings in January 2020, he worked for some of Australia's largest comparison sites and media organisations. With a keen interest in the economy, housing policy, and personal finance, Harrison is passionate about breaking down complex financial topics for the everyday consumer.

Collections:

Be Savings smart.
Subscribe for free money newsletters.

By subscribing you agree to the Savings Privacy Policy