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Threat to mortgages as inflation, wage growth make a comeback


Mortgages could rise much sooner than official forecasts with the Commonwealth Bank now predicting a quicker economic recovery that will lead to inflation rising to a crucial level by mid next year.

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It has also tipped a rise in wages, a splurge of consumer spending and a continued fall in unemployment to 4.7 per cent.

But it also warned that inflation was likely to be stronger than wage growth for all of 2022.

The ANZ Bank has underlying inflation was more widespread than thought and the RBA may have less time than it thought before it has to increase its cash rate, which is the rate the RBA charges commercial banks for loans and serves as a benchmark for lending.

“If the RBA’s guidance about the move in the cash rate is brought into 2023, we think it likely the 10 basis point yield target will be dropped,’’ ANZ said.

“This makes Friday 11:15am a test of the RBA’s possible new outlook. If it does not come in to buy the Apr-24 bond, despite trading well above the current 10bp target, it will be a clear signal of a change next week.”

“Next week’s RBA statement just got a lot more interesting.’’

Reserve Bank deputy governor Guy Debelle is expected to respond to the latest inflation figures when he faces senators today.

September quarter data showed the annual rate of underlying inflation – which smooths out excessive price swings and is linked to interest rate decisions made by the RBA – unexpectedly jumped to 2.1 per cent.

It was the strongest result in six years and took it within the central bank’s two to three per cent inflation target.

While the RBA maintains there would be no hike in its cash rate until 2024, the CBA said the economy was growing much faster than anticipated because of the “remarkably high vaccination rates and an earlier reopening if NSW and Victoria’’.

It forecast that the RBA would halve its current bond buying program, which is designed to stimulate the economy, to $2 billion in February and stop it completely in mid-May.

“We now expect the RBA to commence normalising the cash rate in November 2022 (from May 2023 previously),’’ its senior economist Gareth Aird said.

“In summary, there has been a host of positive developments recently that mean the economic outlook is brighter,’’ he said.

This included an expected sharp rebound in spending and a stronger labour market. 

He said business surveys were showing upstream inflation pressures were “very significant’’ which was adding to a surge in demand as households start spending the savings accrued during lockdowns.

“The labour market will tighten and that will see more workers gain and increase in pay,’’ Aird said.

‘We also expect a lift in consumer inflation to help push wages growth higher. Indeed we expect underlying inflation to be higher than wages growth through most of 2022.’’


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