RBA Cash Rate

RBA rate news and expert forecasts

hold

1.50%

Cash rate hold

at 1.50% on Tuesday 7 May 2019

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) sets the official cash rate target on the first Tuesday of every month except January. Below are expert forecasts from the Finder's RBA Cash Rate Survey™ of some of Australia's brightest minds in economics and property. You can also learn more about the RBA and how its decisions influence the interest rates banks charge, and learn about the best strategies for home owners and investors when there's a rate cut, hold or rise decision.

75%of our resident rate experts

correctly predicted the cash rate move to hold at 1.50% on Tuesday 7 May 2019 View forecasts →

Next meeting: 2:30pm 4 June 2019

What our experts think the next RBA move will be

As of May 2019 only 8% of the experts in our panel think the next RBA rate move will be an increase. 92% now anticipate a rate cut.

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Our resident rate experts

+ Open all commentary

Find out what each of our experts predicts for next month and their detailed forecast explanations

April

No change

May

No change

It will be a close call. Low inflation and weak growth outlook suggests a case can be made for a rate cut. However, the ongoing strength of the labour market suggests that the RBA may want to wait to see incoming data unfolds. Recent RBA commentary suggests it may want to reconcile the strength in the labour market and weak economic growth before acting.

April

No change

May

No change

Although latest inflation data remains subdued, low inflation in isolation should not be a catalyst to change the interest rate cycle after nearly three years on hold. Early signs of higher wages growth, a continuing strong labour market and indications that recent declines in house prices may now be bottoming out suggest the RBA will remain on the sidelines for another month.

Leanne Pilkington
April

No change

May

No change

It's as close a call as the RBA has faced in recent times. The March quarter CPI figures were a bit of a shock but we still see the hold pattern as the prudent course. A single rate cut takes time to wash through the system and generate an impact and the economic situation is fluid, particularly given the upcoming election, so leaving rates unchanged for now seems appropriate.

Stephen Koukoulas

+ Read Stephen's full forecast
April

Cut

May

Cut

Weak economy, low inflation.

PeterGilmore
April

No change

May

No change

It appears that the market is expecting it, with the softer than expected inflation outcome. However, unemployment data remains stable. A cash rate cut does appear imminent either in May or June.

April

N/A

May

No change

Pressure is there for a reduction but with an election in 11 days, I believe the RBA will hold.

John Hewson
April

No change

May

Cut

Getting worried about outlook.

MIchaelYardneyHeadshot100px
April

No change

May

Cut

In its April minutes the RBA acknowledged that "a rate cut would be appropriate if inflation didn't move any higher and unemployment printed up." In the last months, both inflation and GDP growth must have disappointed the RBA. While unemployment has remained stable, inflation has been falling, being 0% for the last quarter.

April

No change

May

No change

Cutting the cash rate could serve to stimulate the property market. National dwelling values have been consistently trending lower for seventeen months according to CoreLogic. However, history shows us that the RBA does not move the cash rate during an election campaign, so the RBA is likely to hold the cash rate in May. However, a number of factors would make the case for a cut when the board meet again in June or August, should some of the key current factors prevail.

April

No change

May

Cut

Rate cuts were already on the way thanks to slower economic growth and the downturn in the housing cycle, but weaker than expected underlying inflation in the March quarter argues that the RBA should move sooner rather than later.

AlisonBoothANU
April

No change

May

No change

Economic fundamentals do not yet justify change.

KatrinaEll
April

N/A

May

No change

Need unemployment to consistently head higher before cutting rates. This hasn't happened.

April

N/A

May

No change

N/A

Sveta Angelopoulos

+ Read Sveta's full forecast
April

N/A

May

No change

Although inflation figures point to a potential decrease in the cash rate the RBA may hold off a little longer, waiting for the election outcome (and reaction), as well as the March 2019 National Accounts information.

April

N/A

May

No change

Too close to the election.

Nicholas gruen
April

No change

May

No change

They may (finally) want to cut what with the disastrous recent inflation numbers, but they may then revive the doctrine that interest rate changes during an election campaign are 'political', something that Glenn Stevens effectively refuted by pointing out that not cutting rates was also political. I think they'll find it (psychologically) easier to sit on their hands for another month.

April

N/A

May

No change

Rate cuts unlikely to do much for the inflation or growth outlooks.

Christine Williams
April

N/A

May

No change

Hold due to our Federal election May 18th 2019.

April

No change

May

No change

The case for cutting the cash rate has increased significantly, however we expect the RBA to hold and wait for more data before cutting to a new record low.

Mathew Tiller LJ Hooker
April

No change

May

Cut

Despite the ongoing labour market strength and looming election, persistently soft inflation data and weakness in housing markets will prompt the RBA to cut rates at its May board meeting.

Thieliant
April

No change

May

No change

Due to weaker than expected inflation in the March quarter, the RBA will shift its commentary to an explicit easing bias, but will hold off from cutting rates this month.

April

No change

May

No change

This is a hard call! Inflation numbers are terrible but jobs still looking ok. Plus there is an election coming up. I'm going with hold but I am not as confident as with my previous calls.

Tim
April

N/A

May

No change

RBA will shift to an easing bias. Whilst CPI came in below expectations and moving away from the RBA target range, until we see weakness in the employment data we believe the RBA will remain on hold.

April

N/A

May

No change

There's no compelling reason to move rates right now although this may be a different story in four to six months time. Moving rates in the month of the Federal election would not appear to be a prudent move because political and economic certainty go hand in hand.

DavidR
April

N/A

May

No change

Very close call, as the inflation report was very weak, but expect they may wait a month or two to see how the jobs data progresses.

April

N/A

May

No change

Concern with falling housing prices and possible weakening demand in the real estate sector despite a falling inflation rate.

April

N/A

May

No change

The recent dip in inflation will have caught the Bank unawares & it may well try & save face by using the upcoming meeting to signal that it will cut soon.

Holden_Richard 1
April

N/A

May

Cut

Inflation, or lack thereof.

AndrewRP

Andrew Reeve-Parker

+ Read Andrew's full forecast
April

No change

May

No change

The RBA is unlikely to act in an election month.

Brian Parker
April

N/A

May

Cut

CPI may have been the straw that finally broke camel's back. Consistent below target inflation, and likelihood of a softening labour market justify a cut.

April

No change

May

No change

No point in lowering them - nothing to be gained.

Alex Joiner
April

No change

May

No change

This is the first 'live' meeting for the RBA for some time. The weaker than expected inflation data gives the RBA a trigger to ease policy immediately. Underlying inflation has unambiguously decelerated. However the timing of the Federal election does give rise to the prospect of such a move being politicized - which may be awkward for the Bank. Also the RBA may choose to focus on the labour market in its deliberations and with employment growth still solid and the unemployment rate trending lower this is still progress towards its objectives. The Statement on Monetary Policy will give the RBA the opportunity to make the case for its action. The arguments are finely balanced, and I would not be surprised if the RBA cut rates in May.

Jonathan Chancellor

+ Read Jonathan's full forecast
April

No change

May

No change

The RBA won't be rushed into their next move.

April

No change

May

Cut

The inflation print is a concern for the RBA notwithstanding the positive labour market the RBA will be seeking to reflate the economy. It must be remembered that interest rate changes have a lagged impact on the economy.

Malcolm Wood
April

No change

May

No change

Despite a strong case for a rate cut, we expect the RBA to avoid political controversy just over a week from the election.

Thieliant
April

No change

May

Cut

The economic outlook is now weaker than the last time the RBA cut rates and is likely to deteriorate further.

Jordan Eliseo
April

N/A

May

No change

Although the CPI figures were a surprise, and the case for a cut is evenly balanced, I think the RBA can wait and look for confirmation before deciding to cut in May. Also, automotive fuel costs were the biggest deflationary factor in the March data, and crude prices are more expensive now. Clearly the RBA's language in April introduced a more doveish emphasis, but given the firm jobs market, the RBA can choose to wait until after the election.

April

No change

May

No change

It is line ball, however I think that the RBA will take the view that a 25 basis point cut won't do much for inflation - they have really wasted their ammunition with the last two cuts. So cutting now just puts them further below the point where conventional monetary policy has any impact.

April

No change

May

Cut

The drop in inflation in the first quarter is the tipping point for the first RBA rate move since 2016. The RBA has been clear in its intent that if inflation were to falter, rates would be coming down. This is now the case, so there is no longer any hurdle for a rate cut.

April

No change

May

No change

Short term rates have declined and thus the money market may provide liquidity and or Actual rates relieve pressure. More likely next month and system weakness remains.

Check out Finder's RBA survey press releases

How has the cash rate changed over time?

The graph above shows the movement in the official cash rate target. A lower cash rate reduces the cost of borrowing money so more people are encouraged to borrow - stimulating the economy. Higher interest rates tend to encourage spending. This is how a rise or fall in rates affects the level of supply and demand and therefore the level of inflation - which the RBA wants to keep in the target range of 2%-3%.

What is the official cash rate and who sets it?

Once a month, the RBA board meets to decide whether to raise the cash rate, lower it or keep it the same. Their decision will be influenced by a wide range of factors including inflation, the performance of the Aussie dollar, the housing market, Australia's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and levels of consumer confidence. The board will assess all of these factors in relation to the RBA's goals and objectives before reaching a consensus on what to do with the official cash rate.

The RBA's monetary policy aims to achieve three key objectives which are set out in the Reserve Bank Act 1959:

  • The stability of the currency of Australia;
  • The maintenance of full employment in Australia; and
  • The economic prosperity and welfare of the people of Australia.

In order to reach those objectives, the RBA sets an inflation target of 2-3% over the medium term. In other words, the RBA wants the Consumer Price Index (CPI, based on the average prices for a range of common goods and services) to increase by between 2 and 3 per cent each year.

The bank can control inflation by making adjustments to the official cash rate. For example, if inflation rises above the target rate it means that Australians are spending their money too freely and prices are increasing too rapidly. But if the RBA raises interest rates to make it more expensive to borrow money, the economy will settle and price increases will slow down. Conversely, the RBA will drop interest rates if inflation is too low and the economy is stagnating, encouraging more Australians to spend more money and stimulate economic growth.

How the cash rate can impact your finances

See how the cash rate changes can affect your savings, term deposits, home loans and what you can do about it.

If the rate rises

Find an account which offers the same features and fees but with a better rate.

If the rate gets cut

Consider comparing a competitive term deposit rate so your interest earnings don't suffer.

If the rate holds

Carry out a quick comparison to make sure you're getting the best return on your money, see what promotions banks are offering.

Banks and other lenders all over the country use the RBA's official cash rate as the benchmark for the rates they offer on their variable rate home loans and other financial products. You may have seen or heard news stories following a rate change announcement by the RBA as economists predict when the banks will pass the RBA's change on to their customers.
If the rate rises

Ask your lender for a rate discount so that if rates do rise you won't be worse off, or alternatively, compare other variable or even fixed rate home loans to find a better deal.

If the rate gets cut

See how your lender responds to the cut. If they don't pass on the full rate cut, ask for a rate discount, and if you're still not happy start comparing what other deals are in the market. Some lenders have been known to pass on more than the official rate cut after an RBA announcement!

If the rate holds

Compare other variable rate home loans to make sure you're still getting the best deal. If rates are tipped to rise in the near future you may also want to compare fixed rates.

If the rate rises

Your rate won't rise as you locked it in, so you can relax a little. If your fixed rate is soon to end, start comparing what deals are being offered so you don't find yourself scrambling to lock in another rate.

If the rate gets cut

If you feel your home loan is no longer competitive, you might want to obtain a quote from your lender to find out possible exit costs. If this figure is reasonable, you might want to consider comparing variable home loans. Use our switching costs calculator to see if you'd save.

If the rate holds

Because your rate is fixed for an agreed period of time, a decision by the RBA to hold won't have as much of an effect on you depending on how long you still have to go in your fixed term. As mentioned above, you might still want to monitor the other deals in the market to keep informed.

If the rate rises

If rates rise, savings accounts rates could be increased as well. If this happens, you might want to compare the rates of high interest savings accounts. Remember that most term deposits have interest penalties if you withdraw your funds early, so keep this in mind.

If the rate gets cut

Your rate won't change because it's locked in, but if you're nearing the end of your term start comparing both high interest savings accounts and term deposits to find a good deal.

If the rate holds

Compare accounts and ensure you're aware of what's being offered in the market.

RBA news and announcements

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46 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    octoJune 18, 2018

    how long can AUD interest rate remain Low…..?

    how soon will the AUD follow the US FED Rate Hike…….?

    thank you

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      NikkiJune 20, 2018Staff

      Hi Octo!

      Thanks for getting in touch!

      To know more information on your questions, you can fill in your email address in the box provided and you’ll be updated on RBA’s decisions on the official cash rate target.

      While we provide you with general information, please know that we don’t stand as a representation for RBA or any company featured on our site.

      Hope that clarifies!

      Cheers,
      Nikki

  2. Default Gravatar
    TaneeshaMay 24, 2018

    Do you think the cash rate will stay the same at the June RBA meeting?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaMay 24, 2018Staff

      Hi Taneesha,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder. I hope all is well for you. :)

      Unfortunately, we are not in the best place to make a prediction. However, you might get an idea whether the RBA cash rate will rise or fall by looking at the factors that affect it. These factors may include:

      – Household debt
      – Inflation
      – Wage growth
      – Consumer Confidence Index
      – Unemployment

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

  3. Default Gravatar
    BrookMay 5, 2018

    What do you think that how the international economic condition influence the cash rate?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JeniMay 6, 2018Staff

      Hi Brook,

      Thank you for getting in touch with finder.

      This is nice question. Domestic financial conditions remain expansionary. There has been some tightening in short-term
      money markets, which has flowed through to a small increase in funding costs for a range of financial institutions and businesses. However, borrowing rates remain low for households and businesses. Growth in housing credit has eased since mid last year, particularly for credit extended to investors, while growth in business debt has remained moderate. The Australian dollar remains within its narrow range of the past two years. Financial market prices suggest that the cash rate is expected to remain unchanged this year and to increase around mid 2019. If you are eager to learn more about the domestic financial condition according to RBA, please check out this link.

      I hope this helps.

      Have a great day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

  4. Default Gravatar
    RobJune 11, 2017

    What do you think will be the next move for RBA on cash rate and when?

    Thank you!

    • Default Gravatar
      JonathanJune 11, 2017

      Hi Rob!

      Thanks for the comment.

      As of the moment, most of resident rate experts predict that rates will be the same. The cash rate target is released on the first Tuesday of every month except January.

      You can follow the updated forecast right here.

      Hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Jonathan

    • Default Gravatar
      RobJune 11, 2017

      Thanks Jonathan, I meant in the longer term, 6-12 months.

    • Default Gravatar
      JonathanJune 11, 2017

      Hi Rob!

      We appreciate your follow-up.

      Currently, there are multiple factors that need to be considered and due to the volatility of these factors, it is a bit hard to conclude whether they’ll leave the rates unchanged for the next few months or not.

      If you have further inquiries, you may contact:

      Media and Communications
      Secretary’s Department
      Reserve Bank of Australia
      SYDNEY
      Phone: +61 2 9551 9720
      Fax: +61 2 9551 8033
      Email: rbainfo@rba.gov.au

      Hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Jonathan

  5. Default Gravatar
    JulieSeptember 1, 2016

    When do you think the RBA will start raising rates?

    • Default Gravatar
      JodieSeptember 7, 2016

      Hi Julie,

      Thank you for contacting finder.com.au we are a financial comparison website and general information service.

      It is hard to predict the movement of the cash rate as it is based on a multitude of factors that are continually changing however 7 out of the 38 experts we surveyed in our latest RBA survey for September 2016 said they predict it will start going up in July 2017 or beyond.

      Regards
      Jodie

  6. Default Gravatar
    EricFebruary 25, 2016

    Hi Belinda

    Appreciate if you would also send me informations regarding findings of monthly RBA survey.

    Regards
    Eric

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      BelindaFebruary 26, 2016Staff

      Hi Eric,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      On this page, you can view the RBA Cash Rate Target Announcements for each month from February 2015 until February 2016. You can also view the commentary of our resident rate experts in the lead up to each Board meeting which occurs on the first Tuesday of every month (except January).

      Please feel free to sign up to receive our detailed RBA cash rate updates by completing the form provided above.

      Regards,
      Belinda

  7. Default Gravatar
    SyedDecember 8, 2015

    Hi,
    My new house is ready now and wondering what is the best time to sell, should I put my house in the market now or January or wait for the February. I am not committed any where so I can wait.

    Your advise needed.

    Thanks

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      BelindaDecember 9, 2015Staff

      Hi Syed,

      Thanks for your enquiry.

      As finder.com.au is an online comparison service so we are not licensed to give you personal advice regarding the best time to sell your property.

      You can read our guide here about considerations when selling your house.

      All the best,
      Belinda

  8. Default Gravatar
    loooooolAugust 16, 2015

    hello.
    i wonder if i could receive some information regarding not only the latest current economic situation, but also cash rate movements over the year.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      BelindaAugust 17, 2015Staff

      Hi Dongho,

      Thanks for your enquiry.

      Above on this page you can view the ‘Reserve Bank monthly announcements’ to read about the cash rate movements and monetary policy decisions that have occurred over the course of this year. You can also sign up to receive our RBA cash rate updates by filling in the form provided above.

      In regards to the current economic situation, finder.com.au is an online comparative website and we can’t comment on the activity of the broader Australian economy.

      Thanks,
      Belinda

  9. Default Gravatar
    OliJuly 17, 2015

    Can you please send through the information on the RBA via email?
    I’m doing a school Economic assignment on the RBA and financial markets

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      BelindaJuly 17, 2015Staff

      Hi Oli,

      Thanks for your enquiry.

      I’ve emailed you with some information regarding the findings from our monthly RBA survey.

      Please note that on this page you can sign up to receive our RBA cash rate updates.

      Thanks,
      Belinda

  10. Default Gravatar
    yazminJuly 7, 2015

    Hi,

    I was just wondering if I could have information regarding how interests rates will unfold over the next year. In particular, if the current interest rates will be appropriate for the economic conditions in Australia.

    Thank you
    Yazmin

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      BelindaJuly 8, 2015Staff

      Hi Yazmin,

      Thanks for your enquiry.

      Firstly, I’d like to point out that finder.com.au is an online comparison and general information service so we’re not in a position to forecast interest rates.

      However, on this page you can sign up to receive our RBA cash rate updates which you might find useful.

      Thanks,
      Belinda

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