31 August 2022
How High Will Interest Rates Go?
The RBA lifted the cash rate to 1.85% in early August 2022. With interest rates rising, what can we expect?
Deputy RBA Governor Michele Bullock recently said that Australia’s household credit-to-income ratio is a relatively high 150%, increasing in an environment that enabled households to service higher levels of debt. But it is not all doom and gloom. “Strong growth in housing prices over 2021 and early 2022 has boosted asset values for many homeowners, with housing assets now comprising around half of household assets,” she said. The recent downturn in house prices has only marginally eroded the large increases over recent years. Plus, households have saved around $260m since the pandemic creating a buffer for rising interest rates. This, however, is a macro view of the economy at large and individual households and businesses will face different pressures depending on their individual circumstances.
For businesses, the rate increase has a twofold effect. It is not just the rate rise and the higher cost of funds in their borrowings. That by itself is significant but at this stage, if anything, it is the lesser issue. The more significant impact comes from negative consumer sentiment and the flow through effect on sales and cash flow.
In general, your debts should not exceed around 35-40% of your assets. There will be some exceptions to this with new business start-ups and first home buyers.
Review the cost of cash in your business, reviewing rates, and the configuration and mix of loans to ensure you are not paying more than you need to.
If possible, avoid having private debt as well as business and investment debts. You can’t get tax relief on your private debt.
Keep an eye on debtors and don’t become your customer’s bank