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RBA says high interest rates are ‘not the problem’

RBA governor Philip Lowe said inflation was the real culprit damaging household budgets.

A composite image of RBA governor Philip Lowe and Australian money.
RBA governor Philip Lowe said inflation is the biggest problem facing Aussie households. (Source: Getty)

Higher interest rates are not the main problem eating away at Aussies' finances, according to outgoing Reserve Bank (RBA) governor Philip Lowe.

This is despite the fact that some Aussies have seen their monthly mortgage repayments rise by $2,269 per month since interest rates started rising in May last year.

"The biggest drain on real household disposable income over the past year isn't higher interest rates, it’s high inflation,” Lowe told the House of Representatives economics committee today.

How much have mortgage payments risen?

Since the start of the interest rate hikes in May last year, someone with a $500,000 mortgage has now had to come up with an additional $1,134 per month, according to data from RateCity.

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Someone with a $750,000 mortgage is forking out more than $1,700 per month, and someone with a $1 million mortgage is paying $2,269 more every single month.

How much has inflation risen?

The most recent inflation read showed prices had risen by around 6 per cent, annually, with grocery and food prices being a major driver.

However, analysis from Canstar found Aussies were paying less than their overseas counterparts for basic food items.

When comparing the average cost of a basic basket of food items, Australians were paying less than those in New Zealand, Japan and the United States.

The UK was the only region paying even less than Australians, at $61.63 for the basket of goods, compared to $72.94 in Australia.

However, it’s all relative to income, with Aussies forking out 37 per cent of their daily income on basic groceries compared to the UK, where they are handing over 47 per cent of their daily pay at the checkout.

“The fall in inflation across several countries shows global inflationary pressure is easing. Of course, if wages are lagging, then the cost of essential food items will continue to add pressure on Australian households,” Canstar editor-at-large Effie Zahos said.

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