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reserve bankThe Reserve Bank of Australia has cut interest rates by 50 basis points in an unexpected move that should provide welcome relief to many homeowners.

The reduction takes the official cash rate to 3.75 percent.

Damian Smith CEO of financial comparison site RateCity called the RBA’s decision "a very big move".

"They haven’t moved rates this far since the depths of the Global Financial Crisis," Mr Smith told ninemsn.

"This cut will help thousands of households, with people on a $300,000 mortgage potentially saving around $1000 per year."

But he warns that some banks may be unwilling to pass on the rate cut in full.

"It’s unlikely that all lenders will pass on the full rate cut," Mr Smith said.

"The signals from the big four banks suggest that they will try to hold on to part of this rate cut."

Mr Smith points out that while the central bank has lowered the cash rate by 50 basis points since November, "the big four banks have only passed on around 40 basis points to variable rate home loan customers".

It is the largest cut to the cash rate since a 100 basis point reduction in February 2009, and the first time the RBA has lowered the cash rate since it cut it by 25 basis points at its December board meeting.

Business lobby groups, trade unionists and some economists had called for the board of the RBA to cut rates by 50 basis points to help ailing retailers, manufacturers and the stubborn housing market.

Story source: www.ninemsn.com.au

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