5 ASX dividend shares for 1.75% interest rates

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After the shock drop in inflation reported earlier this week, the likelihood of another interest rate cut is building.

As we reported yesterday, annual inflation (the change in prices from one year to the next) currently sits at just 1.3%. That compares to the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) target range of between 2% and 3%.

What low inflation means for stocks

Almost immediately after the inflation data was released, the Australian dollar dropped as investors saw it as a signal that another interest rate cut was on its way. And it does seem likely.

Analysts at Citigroup estimate the chances of an interest rate cut next week (taking the official rate to 1.75%) is as high as 50%.

And if the RBA wanted more reason to cut interest rates to a new record low, the Australian dollar ($A) to US dollar ($) (AUDUSD) remains slightly above its target range. A high dollar makes imports cheaper, but drags on productivity.

Broadly speaking, the share market will likely receive a boost from another interest rate cut. There are many reasons why shares jump when interest rates are low.

Firstly, it puts more money in consumers’ wallets. Depending on the savings rate, it can mean more people spending more money on, for example, casual dining or coffee. Retail Food Group Limited (ASX: RFG) is the owner of Donut King, Gloria Jeans, Crust Pizza and much more. Other retailers like Harvey Norman Holdings Limited (ASX: HVN) might also benefit.

Scentre Group Ltd (ASX: SCG), the Australian arm of Westfield shopping centres, is another company likely to see more foot traffic on account of lower interest rates. Moreover, both Retail Food Group and Scentre pay respectable dividends to shareholders.

Dividends are another big reason the share market does well when interest rates fall. The term deposit interest rates on offer from a big bank currently stand at less than 2.4% annually. Meanwhile, the banks’ shares pay dividends in excess of 5% and many generate tax-effective franking credits.

Finally, many Australian companies generate cash from overseas operations. Cochlear Limited (ASX: COH) and Macquarie Group Ltd (ASX: MQG) are two Australian heavyweights kicking goals for shareholders overseas. Both companies generate significant amounts of revenue in US dollars and are showing no signs of slowing down. A stronger US dollar has the effect of boosting their local currency profits.

Foolish takeaway

Successful investors play the game three steps ahead of the market. And while no investment should be based solely on a catalyst like interest rates, each company is likely to continue trucking ahead regardless.

At today's prices, I think Macquarie Group and Cochlear appear worthy of closer inspection. However, rather than buying Macquarie shares, I'm looking for other - faster growing - dividend shares to add to my portfolio, like the one The Motley Fool's expert analysts hand-picked as their best dividend share idea for 2016.

Indeed, our resident dividend experts named their Top Dividend Share for 2016. Not only are the shares dirt cheap, the company is growing and trading on a 5.6% fully franked dividend yield. Simply click here to gain access to this comprehensive FREE investment report, including the name of this fast growing ASX dividend share. No credit card required!

Motley Fool Contributor Owen Raszkiewicz owns shares of Retail Food Group and Cochlear. Owen welcomes -- and encourages -- your feedback on Google+, LinkedIn or you can follow him on Twitter @ASXinvest.

 The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of Retail Food Group Limited. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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