Savings rates are drying up as banks race to the bottom on mortgages

Original article by Matt Johnson
The New Daily – Page: Online : 3-Jun-20

Data from Canstar shows that Australian banks reduced the interest rates on a range of savings accounts and term deposits by up to 75 basis points in May. However, the interest rates on mortgage loans were reduced much less aggressively, averaging just 0.08 per cent for variable home loans and 0.36 per cent for fixed-rate loans. Steve Mickenbecker of Canstar attributes this to factors such as growing competition from non-bank mortgage lenders. However, he does not expect rates to fall much further.

CORPORATES
CANSTAR PTY LTD

Greedy banks protect profits: ACCC

Original article by Cliona O’Dowd, David Ross
The Australian – Page: 15 : 28-Apr-20

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission has released the interim report of its Home Loan Price Inquiry. It has concluded that the nation’s four major banks failed to pass on the full 75 basis point reduction in the cash rate during 2019 in order to protect their profits. The ACCC also found that existing home loan customers tend to pay higher interest rates than new borrowers. Steve Mickenbecker of Canstar says it is a ‘lethargy tax’ rather than a ‘loyalty tax’, and the onus should be on existing customers to actively request a lower interest rate.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, CANSTAR PTY LTD

Prepare to be hit but we’ll ease blow: RBA

Original article by Adam Creighton
The Australian – Page: 4 : 8-Apr-20

Reserve Bank of Australia governor Philip Lowe has indicated that the cash rate will remain at 0.25 per cent until inflation returns to its target range of 2-3 per cent and the unemployment rate falls to around 4.5 per cent. The central bank will also maintain its bond-buying program until these targets are achieved. Lowe has warned that the domestic economy faces a "very large economic contraction" due to the coronavirus, while he says the unemployment rate will rise to its highest level in many years. The RBA left the cash rate on hold at its April board meeting.

CORPORATES
RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA

Non-banks clamp down on new loans

Original article by Joyce Moullakis
The Australian – Page: 13 & 14 : 6-Apr-20

Non-bank lender Pepper Australia has increased its home loan interest rates and tightened its credit criteria as it assesses the impact of the coronavirus on its operations. Pepper will stop offering construction loans and will require a bigger deposit for commercial loans, while larger deposits will also be needed for its two types of home loans. Fellow non-bank lender Bluestone has also introduced new credit criteria as well as increasing the rates on all of its loan products by 35 basis points.

CORPORATES
PEPPER AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, BLUESTONE GROUP PTY LTD

$105b bridge across the chasm

Original article by Matthew Cranston, James Eyers, James Frost, Jonathan Shapiro
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 4 : 20-Mar-20

Reserve Bank of Australia governor Philip Lowe has warned that the cash rate is likely to remain at the new record low of 0.25 per cent for three years. The emergency interest rate cut on 19 March is the RBA’s first out-of-cycle move since 1997; it has coincided with the announcement of a government bond-buying program which aims to ensure that the benchmark three-year bond yield remains at around 0.25 per cent. Lowe says there will be no limit to the bond-buying program. The RBA has also announced a $90bn line of credit for banks to provide low-interest loans to small and medium enterprises; the federal government will provide an additional $15bn to small lenders to help with their funding.

CORPORATES
RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA

Economic dose of medicine

Original article by Patrick Commins
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 4 : 17-Mar-20

The Reserve Bank of Australia is set to make an emergency interest rate cut in response to the coronavirus pandemic. RBA governor Philip Lowe has also flagged a government bond purchasing program to ensure that financial markets continue to function smoothly. The central bank injected some $5.9bn into the banking system on 16 March in order to boost liquidity. The US Federal Reserve and the Reserve Bank of New Zealand announced out-of-cycle interest rate cuts on 16 March; US rates have been reduced to near zero and NZ rates have been slashed by 75 basis points to just 0.25 per cent.

CORPORATES
RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA, UNITED STATES. FEDERAL RESERVE BOARD, RESERVE BANK OF NEW ZEALAND

RBA may need $30b in bonds for a shot at QE, says Deutsche Bank

Original article by Matthew Cranston
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 4 : 10-Mar-20

Deutsche Bank economist Phil O’Donaghoe does not expect quantitative easing to be necessary in response to the coronavirus. He says another official interest rate cut in April and the federal government’s stimulus package should result in a 2019-20 Budget deficit of about 1.2 per cent of GDP. However, O’Donaghoe warns that if the Reserve Bank of Australia does resort to quantitative easing, it would need to purchase up to $30bn worth of bonds to generate the same macroeconomic stimulus as a rate cut of 25 basis points.

CORPORATES
RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA, DEUTSCHE BANK AG

World hunkers down for fight against virus

Original article by David Rogers
The Australian – Page: 29 : 6-Mar-20

Investors have responded positively to the announcement of economic stimulus measures in Australia and the US in response to the coronavirus. Wall Street and sharemarkets across the Asia-Pacific region rallied on 5 March, while the yield on 10-year Australian government bonds rose six basis points to 0.78 per cent. Meanwhile, financial markets expect further official interest rate cuts in both Australia and the US in coming months.

CORPORATES
STANDARD AND POOR’S ASX 200 INDEX, STANDARD AND POOR’S 500 INDEX, SHANGHAI COMPOSITE INDEX, NIKKEI 225 INDEX, HANG SENG INDEX, KOSPI INDEX, TAIEX INDEX

Analysts cut bank earnings forecasts

Original article by Gerard Cockburn, Joyce Moullakis
The Australian – Page: 21 : 5-Mar-20

JP Morgan expects the net profits of Australia’s major banks to fall by 3-4 per cent over coming years after they moved to reduce their mortgage interest rates by 25 basis points, in line with the latest official interest rate cut. JP Morgan adds that the prospect of lower profit margins may prompt banks to reduce their dividend payouts. Macquarie has reiterated its ‘underweight’ recommendation on the banking sector, while UBS has downgraded its earnings-per-share forecast for bank stocks.

CORPORATES
JP MORGAN AUSTRALIA LIMITED, MACQUARIE GROUP LIMITED – ASX MQG, UBS HOLDINGS PTY LTD

Lower rates won’t help: AFIC boss

Original article by Cliona O’Dowd
The Australian – Page: 17 & 28 : 3-Mar-20

The Australian Financial Investment Company’s MD Mark Freeman argues that official interest rates are already at a historically low level, so further monetary policy easing is unlikely to stimulate the economy or stabilise financial markets. The Reserve Bank is widely tipped to reduce the cash rate on 3 March, and there is growing speculation that it could pursue quantitative easing later in the year. However, Freeman has questioned the merits of quantitative easing. He adds that the sharemarket’s recent pullback has created some good buying opportunities.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN FOUNDATION INVESTMENT COMPANY LIMITED – ASX AFI, RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA