Dubai: The US has hiked its interest rate by a fourth successive 0.75 per cent, and which should spell immediate changes for consumers in the UAE and the Gulf as central banks raise their prevailing base rates. As has been the case with previous hikes, the next big question is whether the Federal Reserve will follow up with another one in December – and whether it would be by 0.75 per cent or lower.
The US federal funds rate will thus be 3.75-4 per cent with the latest increase. (The previous Fed hike was on September 21, and so far this year, it has been raised by 375 basis points.) US monetary policymakers did signal the possibility that future rate increases need not be running as high as 0.75 per cent.
The UAE Central Bank has, as with earlier Fed rates, matched the move, with the Base Rate on the Overnight Deposit Facility going up to 3.90 per cent from 3.15 per cent from Thursday. The UAE regulator also decided to maintain the rate applicable to borrowing short-term liquidity from it through all standing credit facilities at 50 basis points above the Base Rate.
Bahrain has signalled it's matching the US rate hike, which would mean 4.75 per cent being the prevailing rate. Qatar's central bank too confirmed the move within the first 15 minutes of the US decision.
Saudi Arabia became the latest to confirm its 0.75 per cent hike.
UAE businesses learn to adapt
UAE property market needs its mortgage buyers
According to feedback, UAE banks had seen mortgage lending growth in the third quarter, but some sources say the pickup rates might have slowed down in October. “There could have been a bit of front-loading by mortgage takers in July-September, which is what’s reflected in the banks’ Q3-22 advances,” said a top official at a local bank. “Every end-user mortgage taker knew what the Fed was going to do, and if they could, they took out the mortgage in July/August itself.
“And locked in their rates for the first- to third year. Personally, even if mortgages remain muted in Q4-22, my book would still be 20-25 per cent higher than last year.”
Banking and property sources confirmed that a lot of mortgage-backed deals did happen through summer, once potential buyers realised what the series of rate hikes would mean for their EMIs.
What will the new rates mean for new mortgage takers? "A few banks had until now still offered fixed pricing starting from 4.35 per cent for 1-year fixed," said Dhiren Gupta, who heads 4C Mortgage. "However, 2- and 3-year fixed pricing have gone up to 4.49-4.99 per cent levels.
"A few banks have also kept 5-year fixed pricing from 4.99-5.90 per cent. However, banks have been promoting variable rates starting 0.55 per cent linked to 3-month EIBOR."Source: