Capital growth slowdown, inflation and Asian economic conditions could spur RBA rate cut

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The Reserve Bank of Australia will have plenty to consider at its December board meeting according to the head of a major mortgage broking network.

John Kolenda, managing director of 1300HomeLoan, believes economic conditions at home and abroad will factor into the RBA’s decision on the direction of the official cash interest rate on the first Tuesday of December.

Kolenda believes a combination of the ongoing economic slowdown in China and other Asian nations as well as conditions within Australia could see the RBA drop the cash rate in December.

“There are other reasons for the RBA to reduce the cash rate from its current record low of 2% in the months ahead,” Kolenda said

“The Sydney and Melbourne property markets, the only cause for concern domestically for the RBA to consider actually lifting its cash rate, is slowing and is now no longer a reason to keep rates on hold,” he said.

Kolenda also said he believes continued falls for the Australian dollar, weak commodity prices and subdued consumer confidence and business investment could also spur the RBA into cutting the cash rate.

While the RBA has stayed put on the official cash rate since May, Kolenda’s prediction of a rate cut in the near future might not be too far from the money.

The minutes from the RBA’s November board meeting suggest there is some chance of a rate cut in the near future, with inflation figures and house prices mentioned as possible drivers.

“While quarterly inflation remained subject to a degree of volatility and measurement error, the broad-based nature of the low outcome in the September quarter suggested that inflationary pressures were a bit more subdued than expected. The profile for underlying inflation had been revised down consequently,” the minutes said.

“Credit growth had increased a little over recent months and housing prices had risen further in Melbourne and Sydney, though the pace of growth had moderated and housing prices were steady in other cities. Members noted that supervisory measures were helping to contain risks that may arise from the housing market.”

“The inflation outlook may afford some scope for further easing of monetary policy, should that be appropriate to lend support to demand.”

While those comments may seem like there is possibility of downward movement in the official cash rate, Kolenda said that may not come with any benefit for borrowers.

“The RBA's decisions could be negated by the banks adhering to Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) regularity requirements that will increase the cost of providing mortgages and make them the strongest in the world,” he said.

“Further rate relief from the central bank may also not be passed on in full by lenders and we may see increases in rates across the board due to potentially increased funding costs and pressure on the major banks to meet the APRA requirements by mid-2016.”

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