Co-author: Veronika Hleborodova
Australian self-funded retirees and other savers are no doubt pretty disheartened at the moment with our stubbornly low cash rate – and the possibility that it may fall even further.
But it could be worse – our official cash rate of 1.50% is still higher than many other countries, a majority of which refer to their central bank-mandated rates as ‘bank rates’ or simply ‘interest rates’.
Looking for a low rate on your home loan? The table below shows the home loan products on our databse with the lowest comparison rates at the time of writing. These results are based on a loan value of $350,000 (principal and interest) for a home in New South Wales.
What are other countries’ cash rates?
|Country||Interest Rate %||Previous||Change %||Last Update|
|Argentina||22.77||23.57||0.80||7 March 2017|
|Brazil||12.25||13.00||0.75||22 February 2017|
|Canada||0.50||0.50||0||1 March 2017|
|India||6.25||6.25||0||8 February 2017|
|Indonesia||4.75||4.75||0||16 March 2017|
|South Korea||1.25||1.25||0||February 2017|
|New Zealand||1.75||1.75||0||February 2017|
|Saudi Arabia||2.00||2.00||0||15 March 2017|
|South Africa||7||7||0||March 2017|
|UK||0.25||0.25||0||16 March 2017|
|European Union||0||0||0||9 March 2017|
|Source: Various sources researched and analysed by the Canstar Editorial team.|
Find out more about how Australia’s cash rate is determined on our website:
Decisions concerning the Argentinian bank rate are made by the Central Bank of Argentina (Banco Central de la República Argentina).
Argentina’s ‘15-day interbank rate’ at the time of writing has decreased to 22.77%. Argentina has long been suffering from huge inflation rates (as high as 40.50%), which the country’s central bank has been trying to combat with high bank rates.
The country’s interest rate is regulated and decided by the Central Bank of Brazil’s Monetary Policy Committee (COPOM), and the official interest rate is known as the Special System of Clearance and Custody rate (SELIC).
Brazil’s interest rate has lowered to 12.25%. It is the fourth straight rate drop, bringing borrowing prices to the lowest in almost 2 years. The interest rate currently sits at a rate much higher than the government’s target inflation ceiling of 6.5%.
The Canadian bank rate is decided by the Governing Council of the Bank of Canada, the country’s central bank.
Canada’s lending rate has remained at 0.5% since July 2015, in an attempt to spur growth in the country’s economy, which has been sluggish as of late due to suffering lower commodity prices.
A rebound in the country’s economy would remove the need for further stimulus moves, which would possibly see the rate increase.
The second-biggest economy in the world is reportedly facing its slowest growth in 25 years, hence the stock market upheaval in 2016. The People’s Bank of China has responded by cutting its lending and deposit rate.
The interest rate was raised by 10 basis points in March, 2017 to 4.35%. This is due to the strengthening of the market expectation for higher funding costs, with the increase in property prices and domestic inflation. 4.35% is the lowest that the lending rate has ever been on record.
As a member of the European Union, France’s interest rate is decided by the European Central Bank. France’s interest rate is currently at a record low of 0% as at February 2017.
The country has been in the midst of slow growth for quite some time, recording only 1.1% GDP growth in 2016. This was actually its biggest expansion in 5 years.
Germany’s interest rate is set by the European Central Bank, and is currently set at 0%.
These low rates have benefited the economy, with unemployment at record lows of 5.9% in March 2017. As the Eurozone’s biggest economy, Germany is widely relied upon to drive the European economic recovery.
India’s bank rate is at 6.25% – remaining so since October 2016. The country’s bank rate is decided by the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) Central Board of Directors.
In the December quarter of 2016, India’s GDP decreased to 7.3% but exceeded the expectations of a 6.4% growth, meaning it continues to be one of the fastest growing economies in the world.
With a population of over 1.2 billion (compared to China’s 1.3 billion), many consider India to be the sleeping giant of the global economy.
Indonesia’s bank rate, known as the discount rate, is currently at 4.75% with the Bank Indonesia, the central bank of the Republic of Indonesia, keeping its rate on hold at its March 16th meeting.
Keeping the rate on hold is in the efforts of upholding financial and macroeconomic stability in the midst of growing global uncertainty. It has been the slowest annual growth (4.94%) since the March 2017 quarter.
Another member of the European Union, Italy’s interest rate is decided by the European Central Bank. Italy’s interest rate is currently 0%.
Italy is trying to recover from its longest recession since World War II but this appears to have stagnated recently, with the country only growing 0.2% in the December 2016 quarter.
Japan surprised many economists when it introduced a negative interest rate of -0.1% in late January 2016. Before then, it had been at zero since about halfway through 2010.
A negative interest rate may sound extreme, but Japan has been suffering from continuing deflation since the 1990s, and the negative rates are designed to stimulate the economy.
South Korea’s bank rate is decided by the Bank of Korea’s Monetary Policy Committee. South Korea’s bank rate (known as the Bank of Korea Base Rate) is at 1.25%.
This is a historic low but has held steady for the eighth straight month. The Board of the Bank of Korea sees the global economic recovery as being likely to be affected by the direction of new US government and the political uncertainties in the euro area.
Mexico’s overnight interbank rate (or tasa de fondeo bancario) is currently 6.5%, receiving a 25 basis points in March 2017. The overnight bank rate is decided by the country’s central bank, the Bank of Mexico.
The recent drastic rate rise was designed to boost the value of their currency, the peso, which had been at all-time lows against the US Dollar. Since the rise, the peso has been seen to be rising in March due to the USA trade unwind.
Mexico is the second-largest economy in Latin America, and has had its GDP growth revised up to 2.4% in the last quarter of 2017 with acceleration in industry and agriculture.
New Zealand’s official cash rate has been kept unchanged at historic low of 1.75% on 22 March 2017. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand kept the rate steady for the fourth straight meeting.
NZ’s headline inflation has reverted to the target band as past declines in oil prices dropped out of the annual calculation. In addition, their quarterly GDP was weaker than expected in the December quarter, and global inflation has increased.
Major challenges still remain, but the main factors of economic growth are expected to gradually return to their long-term average rates.
The Russian interest rate is decided by the Central Bank of the Russian Federation. Russia has one of the higher bank rates on this list but has had its interest rate (the 1-week auction repo rate) lowered by 25 basis points to 9.75% on March 24th.
Inflation has declined ahead of the forecast and there are signs of an increase in consumption and wages. As at 29 March, the ruble stands at 0.018 USD while inflation was reported to be 4.6% in February 2017.
The Bank forecasts that the annual consumer price growth will reduce to 4% by the end of 2017 and will remain within this target.
Saudi Arabia’s interest rate is decided by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA), and is known as the Official Repo Rate (ORR). The ORR is currently 2% and it has remained so since January 2009.
This oil-based economy took a major hit when the value of oil fell significantly. Growth in Saudi Arabia is expected to be weaker than previously forecast for 2017 as oil production being cut back in line with the recent OPEC agreement.
The International Monetary Fund has forecast the country to only grow by 0.4% in 2017.
The inflation outlook has improved although the exchange rate has become a risk due to recent political uncertainties. The improvement has come from a more appreciated exchange rate assumption.
As a member of the European Union, Spain’s bank rate is set by the European Central Bank. It currently stands at 0%, an all-time low for the benchmark interest rate.
As one of the worst-hit economies during the GFC, Spain is in the midst of a resurgence but recorded only 3% year-on-year growth in the fourth quarter of 2016. This is the lowest growth rate since the first quarter of 2015, and is largely due to investments and government spending slowing down.
Recently released data showed a steady recovery in the economic activity, while the major increase in inflation is expected to continue in the short term due to the base effect in food prices and the lagged pass-though.
In the United Kingdom, the interest rate is decided by the Bank of England, and is known as the repo rate. The Bank of England has operational independence, but still makes decisions based on government targets and policies.
The current repo rate is at a record low of 0.25%. The aggregate demand during this year is expected to slow down due to household demand decreasing in reaction to lower real income growth.
United States of America
In the USA, interest rates are decided through the work of two bodies: the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve and the Federal Open Markets Committee. The Board decides on changes in discount rates, and the FOMC decides on the federal funds market rate.
The interest rate is currently at 1%. This rate is expected to continue its rise over the course of 2017 as the US continues to recover from the effects of the global financial crisis.
The European Union or Euro Area’s interest rate is decided by the Governing Council of the European Central Bank (ECB). The EU’s rate has remained unchanged sitting at 0% in March 2017, which is the lowest the rate has ever been.
It was agreed by the ECB that a very substantial degree of monetary accommodation is still required to support growth and inflation, while recognising that the risk of the economic outlook has become less prominent and that the economic expansion in the Euro Area has strengthened.
Make the most of the cash rate we currently have in Australia, whether that means finding a lower interest rate and better features on your home loan, or looking for a higher interest rate on your term deposit or savings accounts: