Borrowers can rest easy as it looks like the Reserve Bank’s cash rate will not go up for the remainder of the year.
All 16 market economists surveyed by AAP say the RBA won’t move the cash rate at its board meeting on Tuesday, and only two say there will be a rate rise before Christmas.
Seven are predicting a hike in the first half of 2015, which would be the first interest rate rise in over four years.
St George chief economist Besa Deda recently moved her forecast for the next rate hike from end of 2014 to the first quarter of 2015.
“Inflation has moved in the upper part of the Reserve Bank’s target band and economic growth has improved since turning a corner around September of last year,” she said.
“However, the concerns about the outlook suggest the start of the rate-hike cycle is still some time away.”
Central banks raise their interest rates to keep inflation from getting too high, and cut the rate to help stimulate economic growth.
The Australian economy is still in recovery mode and will need more time to adjust to the decline in mining investment that has been at all time highs in recent years, Ms Deda said.
“A recovery is underway in the Australian economy, supported by dwelling investment, strong export growth and household consumption,” she said.
“But this pick up is still modest in nature and uncertainty about the outlook for non-mining investment remains.”
JP Morgan chief economist Stephen Walters was previously predicting an August rate cut by the RBA, but now says the next rate move will be up, and not until the second half of 2015.
“We have changed the rate call, but have not made material changes to our macro forecasts, which continue to foresee below-potential output growth, rising unemployment, and benign inflation,” he said.
“We do not see recent healthy house price gains and evidence of speculative investment in housing as reasons for the RBA to embark on an early hiking cycle.”
Mr Walters is confident that the non-mining sectors of the economy will be stronger in later 2015.
“Household spending and home building ought to have firmed, and the Australian dollar likely will be lower,” he said.
Since the beginning of 2014 RBA governor Glenn Stevens has flagged a period of interest rate stability, and in the minutes of the bank’s June board meeting said it was still appropriate to keep the cash rate unchanged “for some time yet”.