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RBA cuts rates by 0.50%

After consecutive decisions to keep rates on hold, the RBA has made the decision to reduce the cash rate to 3.75%, marking the first rate cut for the year.

The decision comes on the back of signs that the global economy is continuing to slow with inflation looking weaker than anticipated.

The rate cut is said to have brought much needed relief to Australian home owners.

A 0.50% rate cut will see the average Australian mortgage reduced by $120 per month in interest repayments.

Economists are not anticipating any of the big banks to pass on the rate cut to customers in full however have said that some may see a good marketing opportunity here.

Earlier in the year many of the majors faced media backlash after blamed high funding costs for their inability to reduce rates despite many of them reporting records profits.

In a quote taken from news.com.au Shane Oliver, chief economist at AMP Capital Investors says, “the Reserve Bank’s financial stability review in March clearly highlighted that the return on equity for the major banks remain pretty high and net interest margins don’t look to be particularly suffering, so I think to justify not passing on a decent portion of any rate cut we get will be a bit hard.”

As a Mutual ADI (credit union, building society or mutual bank) we are owned by our customers and their needs are always our highest priority. Because we don’t have external shareholders to pay, we have some of the lowest home loan rates on the market. Contact us today to see how we can help you.

RBA Governor Glenn Stevens’ full statement can be viewed below:

At its meeting today, the Board decided to lower the cash rate by 50 basis points to 3.75 per cent, effective 2 May 2012. This decision is based on information received over the past few months that suggests that economic conditions have been somewhat weaker than expected, while inflation has moderated.

Growth in the world economy slowed in the second half of 2011, and is likely to continue at a below-trend pace this year. A deep downturn is not occurring at this stage, however, and in fact some forecasters have recently revised upwards their global growth outlook. Growth in China has moderated, as was intended, and is likely to remain at a more measured and sustainable pace in the future. Conditions in other parts of Asia softened in 2011, partly due to natural disasters, but have recently shown some tentative signs of improving. Among the major countries, conditions in Europe remain very difficult, while the United States continues to grow at a moderate pace. Commodity prices have been little changed, at levels below recent peaks but which are nonetheless still quite high. Australia’s terms of trade similarly peaked about six months ago, though they too remain high.

Financial market sentiment has generally improved this year, and capital markets are supplying funding to corporations and well-rated banks. At the margin, wholesale funding costs have declined over recent months, though they remain higher, relative to benchmark rates, than in mid 2011. Market sentiment remains skittish, however, and the tasks of putting European banks and sovereigns onto a sound footing for the longer term, and of improving Europe’s growth prospects, remain large. Hence Europe will remain a potential source of adverse shocks for some time yet.

In Australia, output growth was somewhat below trend over the past year, notwithstanding that growth in domestic demand ran at its fastest pace for four years. Output growth was affected in part by temporary factors, but also by the persistently high exchange rate. Considerable structural change is also occurring in the economy. Labour market conditions softened during 2011, though the rate of unemployment has so far remained little changed at a low level.

Recent data for inflation show that after a pick up in the first half of last year, underlying inflation has declined again, and was a little over 2 per cent over the latest four quarters. CPI inflation has also declined, from about 3½ per cent to a little over 1½ per cent at the latest reading, as the weather-driven rises in food prices in the first half of last year have, as expected, now been fully reversed. Over the coming one to two years, and abstracting from the effects of the carbon price, inflation will probably be lower than earlier expected, but still in the 2–3 per cent range.

As a result of changes to monetary policy late last year, interest rates for borrowers have been close to their medium-term averages over recent months, albeit tending to increase a little as lenders passed on the higher costs of funding their books. Credit growth remains modest overall. Housing prices have shown some signs of stabilising recently, after having declined for most of 2011, but generally the housing market remains subdued. The exchange rate remains high even though the terms of trade have declined somewhat.

Since it last changed the cash rate in December, the Board has maintained the view that the setting of policy was appropriate for the time being, but that the inflation outlook would provide scope for easier monetary policy, if needed, to support demand. The accretion of evidence over recent months suggests that it is now appropriate for a further step in that direction.

In considering the appropriate size of adjustment to the cash rate at today’s meeting, the Board judged it desirable that financial conditions now be easier than those which had prevailed in December. A reduction of 50 basis points in the cash rate was, in this instance, therefore judged to be necessary in order to deliver the appropriate level of borrowing rates.

Latest Award

We are proud to annouce that we have again been awarded a 5 star rating by Canstar for our Standard Variable, Investment Variable and 3 year fixed loans for 2012.

Scams – It’s Personal

Scammers do not stop at anything to target victims, including adopting a personal touch.

Increasingly scammers are finding ways to get information about your personal profile and use this to play on your relationships with people and organisations you know and trust.

The effects of scams on victims can be devastating and scammers don’t discriminate – they’ll target anyone, using a myriad of ways to slip under your radar including phone calls, SMS, letter, email, fax, blog, online chat or dating service.

Here are some tips to help you stay safe:

  • PROTECT YOUR IDENTITY – Your personal details are private and invaluable – keep them that way and away from scammers
  • DON’T RESPOND – Ignore suspicious emails, letters, phone calls or text messages – press ‘delete’, throw them out or just hang up
  • DON’T LET SCAMMERS PUSH YOUR BUTTONS – Scammers will play on your emotions to get what they want
  • RESIST THE PERSONAL TOUCH – Watch out for scammers posing as someone that you know and trust, or pretending to know you. It is important to protect your identity and if you are suspicious that you have been scammed, report it to us.

For more information visit http://www.scamwatch.gov.au

Interest rates remain on hold

In spite of concerns over the global economy, turmoil on the financial markets and a slow-down of consumer spending at home, the Reserve Bank (RBA) has opted today to keep interest rates steady at 4.75%.

For Members with a mortgage the announcement by the Reserve Bank will be welcome. It will mean that mortgage payments will remain stable.

The statement from RBA Governor Glenn Stevens is as follows:

“Recent information is consistent with the expectation that the world economy will grow at a below-trend pace this year, but does not suggest that a deep downturn is occurring. Several European countries will record very weak outcomes, but the US economy is continuing a moderate expansion. Growth in China has moderated as was intended, but on most indicators remains quite robust overall. Conditions around other parts of Asia softened in 2011, partly due to natural disasters, but are not showing signs of further deterioration. Some moderation in inflation has allowed policymakers in the region to ease monetary policies somewhat. Commodity prices declined for some months and are noticeably off their peaks, but over the past couple of months have risen somewhat and remain at quite high levels.

The acute financial pressures on banks in Europe have been alleviated considerably by the actions of policymakers, though there is more to do to put European banks and sovereigns onto a sound footing for the longer term and Europe will remain a potential source of shocks for some time yet. Financial market sentiment has continued to improve in recent weeks and capital markets are again supplying funding to corporations and well-rated banks, albeit at costs that are higher, relative to benchmark rates, than in mid 2011.

Most information on the Australian economy continues to suggest growth close to trend overall, with differences between sectors and considerable structural change. Labour market conditions softened during 2011 and the unemployment rate increased slightly in mid year, though it has been steady over recent months. CPI inflation has declined as expected and will fall further over the next quarter or two. In underlying terms, inflation is around 2½ per cent. Over the coming one to two years, and abstracting from the effects of the carbon price, the Bank expects inflation to be in the 2–3 per cent range. This forecast embodies an expectation that productivity growth will improve somewhat as a result of the structural change occurring in the economy.

Interest rates for borrowers have generally risen slightly since the Board’s previous meeting, but remain close to their medium-term average. Credit growth remains modest. Housing prices have shown some sign of stabilising recently, after having declined for most of 2011, but generally the housing market remains soft. The exchange rate has risen over recent months, even though the terms of trade have declined.

With growth expected to be close to trend and inflation close to target, the Board judged that the setting of monetary policy remained appropriate for the moment. Should demand conditions weaken materially, the inflation outlook would provide scope for easier monetary policy. The Board will continue to monitor information on economic and financial conditions and adjust the cash rate as necessary to foster sustainable growth and low inflation.”

If you are concerned about the affects of future changes to the official cash interest rate on your repayments, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.