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ANZ keeps rates on hold

ANZ has kept its variable mortgage interest rates on hold in its first review of the year, days after the Reserve Bank chose not to ease the cash rate below its historic low.

The bank’s standard variable interest rate remained at 6.4 per cent, after a reduction of 0.2 percentage points in December.

‘‘Variable interest rates for small business lending also remain unchanged,’’ the bank added in a statement.

On Tuesday, the Reserve Bank kept interest rates on hold at 3 per cent during its first board meeting of the year yesterday, citing an improving global economy and subdued inflation. But the Board kept the door open for further cuts if needed.

In its quarterly statement on monetary policy released today, the RBA said banks’ outstanding funding costs were estimated to have been ‘‘broadly unchanged over the past few months’’.

The Reserve Bank added that ‘‘it will take some time for the reduction in spreads [for new bond issuance] to flow through to overall bank funding costs owing to the relatively subdued growth in credit and the slow run-off of wholesale debt issued previously at higher spreads’’.

The big four banks have previously said high funding costs were behind the reasons why they had refrained from passing on all of the Reserve Bank’s 0.25 percentage point rate cuts.

Expectations that the cash rate would fall to a record low as early as March has seen interest rates for some types of fixed-rate mortgages drop to their lowest levels in more than 20 years.

Standard variable rates

  • ANZ 6.40 per cent
  • Commonwealth 6.40 per cent
  • NAB 6.38 per cent
  • Westpac 6.51 per cent

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