1. NAB, Australia’s third-largest bank, has revised its cash rate forecast to a hold instead of an expected hike in February.
2. All four big banks now believe that the current cash rate cycle has peaked at 4.35%.
3. The big banks predict at least one cash rate cut in the second half of 2024, with variations in timing and size.
4. Borrowers should not get too excited as the possibility of another rate hike has not been ruled out by the RBA.
5. While a rate decrease may happen at some point, borrowers should not rely on it happening in 2024 and should seek out financial relief themselves if needed.
A Shift in Economic Predictions Amidst Changing Market Conditions
NAB, Australia’s third-largest bank, has revised its cash rate forecast, moving from an expected 0.25 percentage point hike in February to a hold. This adjustment aligns NAB with the other big four banks, all of which now anticipate that the current cash rate cycle has peaked at 4.35%.
Big Four Banks’ Cash Rate Forecasts
- CBA: Peak at 4.35%, first cut in Sep-24, with three cuts forecasted in 2024.
- Westpac: Peak at 4.35%, first cut in Aug-24, with two cuts forecasted.
- NAB: Peak at 4.35%, first cut in Nov-24, with one cut forecasted.
- ANZ: Peak at 4.35%, first cut in Q4, with one cut forecasted.
RateCity.com.au Research Director’s Insights
Sally Tindall, Research Director at RateCity.com.au, comments on the significance of this consensus among the big banks. She advises caution, noting that while another rate hike seems increasingly unlikely, borrowers should still prepare for the possibility. Tindall emphasizes the importance of not relying solely on the RBA or government for financial relief and encourages borrowers to proactively seek solutions.
Tips for Managing Budgets Amidst Economic Uncertainty
Tindall offers practical advice for individuals facing financial stress:
- Seek a Pay Rise or Second Job: A consistent increase in income can provide long-term budget relief.
- Refinance the Mortgage: Lowering your mortgage interest rate can significantly reduce monthly expenses.
- Scrutinize Food Expenses: Food costs are a major household expense and should be carefully managed.
- Monitor Energy Costs: Ensuring you’re on the most cost-effective energy plan can lead to savings.
- Maximize Government Benefits: Explore all available government assistance to maximize your benefits.
- Review Subscription Services: Eliminate unused services to cut unnecessary expenses.
The consensus among Australia’s big four banks suggests a shift in the economic landscape, with expectations of a hold in the February cash rate and potential rate cuts later in 2024. This forecast offers a glimmer of hope for borrowers, but also underscores the need for proactive financial management in uncertain times.