RBA makes final 2018 cash rate decision

by Rebecca Pike04 Dec 2018

The final cash rate of 2018 has been announced by the Reserve Bank of Australia.

RBA governor Philip Lowe announced the rate would be remaining at 1.5%.

As there is no cash rate meeting in January, this means the rate will have remained the same for at least 29 months in a row.

Experts and analysts were expecting the decision, citing low unemployment and wage growth.

While many over the last few months have begun predicting the rate might stay the same until 2020, the shadow board of the RBA has said there is “an increasing need” for a hike in the next six months.

CoreLogic’s head of research, Tim Lawless, said that “Considering the diversity of economic conditions, the hold decision comes as no surprise”.

Explaining what the RBA would be looking at, particularly in terms of the housing market, he added, “Labour markets are improving, but wages growth remains sluggish and inflation has softened.  It’s a bit harder to gauge the RBA’s view on housing market conditions, with the RBA continuing to call out weakening conditions in Sydney and Melbourne. 

“CoreLogic data to the end of November highlighted that the Sydney market has already recorded a 9.5% decline in values since peaking in July last year and will likely surpass the previous record peak to trough decline of 9.6% which was set during the last recession between 1989 and 1991.

“Despite this weakness in the largest cites, dwelling values in Sydney remain 41% higher than they were five years ago and Melbourne values are still 38% higher both of which show five year growth rates well in excess of most other capital city markets.

“Additionally, five of the eight capital cities have posted a capital gain over year to date however, from a macro view they have much less of an influence on the national figures than Sydney and Melbourne do.

“To date we haven’t seen the housing downturn impacting on household consumption or saving, however this is likely to be a key factor the RBA will be monitoring.”