Australian business confidence falls on rate hikes

17:01, May 10, 2010      

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Economists said on Monday the Australian Reserve Bank's (RBA) last three consecutive interest rate rises are taking their toll on the broader economy, with business confidence and job advertisements falling in April.

The RBA raised the cash rate to 4.5 percent on May 4.

The National Australia Bank's (NAB) monthly measure of business confidence dropped from 16 points to 13, while the ANZ's job ads series shows a 1.2 percent fall in vacancies during the month.

NAB's chief economist Alan Oster noted the weaker results prove the RBA's policy is starting to cool down the economy.

"It does look as if the increases in rates have started to slow the retail sector and whilst things are fine, business is not quite as optimistic as it was before."

The number of jobs advertised on the internet has also fallen.

The Advantage Job Index for April shows a 1.7 percent drop, although spokesman Bob Olivier said some sectors did worse than others.

"Those sectors hardest hit were transport, trades and services, building and construction - an important sector for us - and sales and marketing, particularly retail which is affected by the interest rate hikes," he said.



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