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CBA, ANZ join Westpac in raising rates

AAP  |  06 Sep 2018Text size  Decrease  Increase  |  
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Commonwealth Bank and ANZ have become the latest major banks to lift their home loan interest rates, with both institutions blaming rising international borrowing costs.

ANZ announced on Thursday that it will hike its standard variable rate by 0.16 percentage points, citing higher funding costs but saying the increase will not apply to drought-affected regional customers.

CBA followed soon after with a 0.15 percentage point increase to its standard variable rate.

The banks' move follows Westpac announcing a lift in its home loan rate on August 29 - a move predicted by Morningstar banking analyst David Ellis

ANZ's higher rates will take effect from September 27, the bank said, and will take itsresidential principal-and-interest rate to 5.36 per cent.

Investors reacted by shoving the Aussie dollar down a quarter of a cent to 71.75 US cents, and back toward the recent 20-month trough of 71.45.

Commonwealth Bank's increase will take effect on October 4 with the standard rate for owner-occupier borrowers rising to 5.37 per cent a year.

CBA group executive Angus Sullivan said the decision, which was released within minutes of ANZ, came "after careful consideration".

"We are very conscious of the impact that increasing interest rates will have on our customers, however it is important that we price our home loan products in a way that reflects underlying costs," he said.

Mr Sullivan said CBA had absorbed higher funding costs for the past six months.

"Unfortunately, the costs have remained high and it is now expected that they will remain elevated for the foreseeable future," he said in a statement.

ANZ's Australian group executive Fred Ohlsson said the rate rise was "a difficult decision".
"We know the impact rising interest rates have on family budgets," he said.

"The reality is it is more expensive for us to fund our home loans on wholesale markets and we also needed to balance the needs of all stakeholders."

ANZ said it will not increase mortgage rates for its customers in drought-declared parts of regional Australia - a move that will protect about 70,000 borrowers from the increase.

The round of rate rises - which have also been made by Suncorp - come despite the Reserve Bank this week once more holding the cash rate at a record low 1.5 per cent.

Analysts had already been disappointed at the Australian dollar’s failure to rally more in the wake of Wednesday's surprisingly strong Australian growth numbers, and as the US dollar suffered a pullback of its own.

Adding to the angst was uncertainty about whether and when US President Donald Trump might act on a threat to impose tariffs on another $US200 billion of Chinese goods.

Trump on Wednesday said that the US was not yet ready to come to an agreement with China but that talks would continue.



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