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The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) monthly consumer price index (CPI) indicator revealed a welcome decline in inflation. Consumer prices eased to an annual pace of 4.9 per cent in October, down sharply from 5.6 per cent in September. Economists were generally expecting the October inflation figure to be 5.2 per cent, meaning the size of the decrease came as somewhat of a surprise. Significant movers this month included housing which rose by 6.10 per cent, transport costs rose 5.9 per cent, while food and non-alcoholic beverages increased 5.3 per cent. Government support continued to help moderate the increases in rents and electricity. The inflation figures are the last major numbers the RBA board will have to consider before their December meeting. Prior to the release of the October inflation data the market was largely expecting the RBA to leave the cash rate at 4.35 per cent. After their release, these expectations were affirmed. The modest inflation figures followed softer retail sales numbers which indicated turnover had shrunk by 0.2% last month. Restrained spending and easing inflation should negate the chances of a rate rice before Christmas. Michele Bullock acknowledged that the RBA was now walking a fine line between trying to bring inflation back to within target (2 to 3 per cent) while simultaneously maintaining a robust economy and healthy labour market. The next quarterly CPI figures are released on 31 January 2024 and will be far better indicator of how inflation is tracking as the data will feature measures not included in the monthly figures.
There is one new entry to the table this week. Heritage Bank is offering investors the Home Advantage Residential Fixed 3yr P&I loan at 6.24% (6.72%*). The rate is available for loans from $150,000 up to $999,999.99, with a maximum LVR of 90%. There are no ongoing monthly or application fees, but a $350 annual fee is payable. Heritage Bank is currently waiving the first year Annual Package fee for applications received between 10 October and 15 December 2023, and settled by 29 February 2024. Lenders offering competitive Owner-Occupied variable P&I rates include Auswide 5.89% (5.94%*), Heritage 6.04% (6.06%*) and ME 6.07% (6.11%*). Lenders offering competitive Investment variable P&I rates include Beyond Bank 6.24% (6.28%*), Heritage 6.29% (6.31%), Suncorp 6.34% (6.10%*) and ING 6.34% (6.13%*). Home loan products have varying fees and product features, as well as differing minimum and maximum loan amounts and LVR restrictions. We recommend you consult a broker who can assess the products on offer and help choose the one that best suits your needs.