Steady on: RBA leaves the cash rate at 3.25%

The Reserve Bank board has stalled at the starting gate, leaving the cash rate unchanged at 3.25% on Melbourne Cup day.

This is the first time in seven years that the RBA has not adjusted the cash rate in November.

An increase in third-quarter inflation, retail sales up a better-than-expected 0.5% in September and a second consecutive month of rising residential building approvals as well as property values falling marginally in October were factors the RBA would have considered at its monetary policy board meeting.

“Clearly some of the more positive data flows that have arrived lately have caused the RBA to wait and see how the economy is responding the current cash rate setting,” commented RP Data national research director Tim Lawless.

“From a housing market perspective, I would have to assume the RBA is reasonably comfortable with the current performance of the market.

“Dwelling values are 2.1% higher than what they were at the end of May this year and there has been a modest uptick in transaction volumes which, suggests that consumers are slowly responding to the previous rate cuts.

“The 25-point rate cut in October is still working its way through the data, so I am sure the RBA will be watching how values pan out in November based on the RP Data-Rismark daily index, which is already showing a small improvement in dwelling values since the start of the month.”

Michelle Hutchison, spokesperson for financial comparison website RateCity.com.au, says despite the Reserve Bank keeping the cash rate on hold at 3.25% today, variable borrowers have saved almost $700 in repayments for a $300,000 home loan and $1,346 for a $600,000 mortgage after variable rates fell by 67 basis points on average this year.

“Savers have faced a different outlook, as they’ve experienced a 57-basis-point drop to the average savings account rate this year according to RateCity, which would make a significant difference to those who rely on their returns.”

A decision to cut the cash rate – backed by most economists with swap traders less certain – would have seen the official borrowing rate at its lowest setting since September 2009 and for cash rate settings going back to 1990.

Prior to 1990 the RBA did not provide an official cash rate settings, but proxy measures show a setting of 3.02% in January 1964 and a rate of 2.99% in March 1960.

The record low is 2.89% in January 1960.

ANZ will make its independent interest rate call on Friday.

This article first appeared on Property Observer.

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