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Australian job surge hits high
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2007-01-12 15:06

Australian employers added three times as many workers as forecast in December, capping the strongest year of jobs growth since 1989, Bloomberg News reported.

The nation's currency rose on expectations the central bank may raise interest rates.

Employment climbed 44,600 last month after advancing a revised 43,000 in November. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.6 percent, the Bureau of Statistics said yesterday in Sydney.

A 30-year-low jobless rate may stoke wages growth and inflation, which has breached the Reserve Bank's target for two successive quarters, forcing Governor Glenn Stevens to add to last year's three rate increases. Reports this week showed consumer confidence rose to a 17-month high, exports gained for a third month and building approvals surged in November.

"The economy keeps generating strong jobs growth, which is keeping the pressure on the Reserve Bank," said Michael Thomas, head of economics at ICAP Australia in Sydney. "This will have more people talking about the chance of a February interest-rate increase."

The Australian dollar jumped to 78.24 US cents at 4:30pm in Sydney from 77.79 cents. The yield on the benchmark 10-year bond rose two basis points to 5.89 percent.

Futures traders see a 48 percent chance that the central bank will raise interest rates by a quarter-percentage point by the end of March compared with 34 percent yesterday, according to 30-day inter-bank futures contracts.

Six of 24 economists surveyed by Bloomberg yesterday expect a rate increase next month, up from three in a survey in December.

Investors and economists now await the release of the fourth-quarter consumer prices report on January 24, before the Reserve Bank of Australia meets to decide rates on February 6.

Source:Shanghai Daily 
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