The decision was overwhelmingly expected by economists, with the Reserve Bank (RBA) announcing it would hold the rate at 0.10%. 

The last cash rate change was in November - the Board does not meet in January.

November's 'Melbourne Cup Cut' was a 15 basis point reduction from 0.25%, with the central bank stating the rate was now at its effective floor. 

RBA Governor Phillip Lowe announced the central bank's quantitative easing program would be extended until at least February 2022, in the face of Delta outbreaks halting the economic recovery. 

"The Board will continue to review the bond purchase program in light of economic conditions and the health situation, and their implications for the expected progress towards full employment and the inflation target," Dr Lowe said.

"These bond purchases, together with the low level of the cash rate, the yield target and the funding that has been provided under the Term Funding Facility, are providing substantial and ongoing support to the Australian economy."

He added the RBA was closely watching the continuing but tapered growth in the housing market. 

"Housing credit growth has picked up due to stronger demand for credit by both owner-occupiers and investors.

"Given the environment of rising housing prices and low interest rates, the Bank is monitoring trends in housing borrowing carefully and it is important that lending standards are maintained."

Chief executive of digital lending and payments platform WLTH, Brodie Haupt, said it would be at least two years until the cash rate was hiked.

"With New South Wales and Victoria still in lockdown, there are too many economic factors currently at play for the Reserve Bank to make a change and I can't see them changing the rates for the foreseeable future," Mr Haupt said.

"Even with talk of international travel resuming and increasing vaccination rates, I can't see the RBA changing the cash rate until late 2023 or early 2024."

Borrowers urged to review their home loan

Although the cash rate may not move for some years, Susan Mitchell, chief executive of Mortgage Choice, said the various Delta outbreaks had seen many borrowers rush to review their mortgages. 

“The uncertainty caused by the ongoing lockdowns is pushing borrowers to chase better deals on their home loan," Ms Mitchell said.

"Loan preference data is showing that borrowers are seeking certainty in their monthly home loan repayments.

"Mortgage Choice monthly approval data reveals a growing trend towards fixed rates, with the proportion of borrowers opting to fix part of their mortgage steadily increasing throughout 2021." 

Ms Mitchell urged borrowers who hadn't reviewed their home loan in over a year to survey the market. 

"The home loan market is very competitive, so you could be missing out on a better deal if you don’t shop around."


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