Australia's RBA keeps key rate on hold at 4.75% (by Sarah Turner)
SYDNEY (MarketWatch) -- Australia's central bank Tuesday kept its key interest rate on hold at 4.75%, as widely expected. "The board judged that the current mildly restrictive stance of monetary policy remained appropriate in view of the general macroeconomic outlook," said Reserve Bank of Australia Gov. Glenn Stevens in a statement released along with the decision. The bank expects that inflation over the year ahead will continue to be consistent with its 2% to 3% target. The Australian dollar declined 0.1% to $1.0174 after the decision.
Australian retail sales up 0.4% in January (by Sarah Turner)
SYDNEY (MarketWatch) -- Australia's seasonally adjusted retail sales rose 0.4% in January, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported Tuesday. The gain in January followed a 0.2% rise in December. Food retailing, other retailing and department stores recorded sales increases in the month, the ABS reported. That offset a drop in sales for household goods, clothing, footwear, personal accessories, cafes, restaurants and takeaway-food services. The Australian dollar traded up 0.1% at $1.019 after the data.
Australian commodity exports to hit record 2011-12 (by Virginia M. Harrison)
SYDNEY (MarketWatch) - Australia's commodity export earnings are forecast to rise to a record 251 billion Australian dollars ($255.8 billion) in 2011-12, up 14% on the year-ago period, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences said Tuesday. The bureau said the value of mineral exports is expected to increase by 16% on the prior corresponding period, to reach A$215 billion in 2011-2012. The growth will be driven by strong commodity demand, particularly from China and other emerging Asian markets, it said.
Australia posts wider current-account deficit (by Sarah Turner)
SYDNEY (MarketWatch) -- Australia's seaonally adjusted current-account deficit rose 809 million Australian dollars ($825 million) to A$7.3 billion in the three months to the end of December, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said Tuesday. The deficit was wider than the expected A$7.1 billion, according to a survey by Dow Jones Newswires. In chain-volume terms, the net goods and services deficit rose A$24 million to A$472 million in the December quarter. The figure is not expected to make a contribution to fourth-quarter 2010 gross domestic product growth, the ABS said.