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Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens has signalled interest rates are on their way back up with mortgage rates likely to edge up between half and a full percentage point.

Giving evidence to the House of Representatives economics committee in Canberra, Mr Stevens said the RBA’s focus continued to be on what mortgage rates were offered by commercial banks rather than on the Reserve’s official cash rate.

He said given the commercial banks had lifted rates over and above what the RBA had done, there was still about a half and a full percentage point to go before mortgage rates were back to what the Reserve would consider close to their long term average.

“There’s a little distance to go yet before I think you could characterise the setting of interest rates as normal or average,” he said.

The RBA surprised markets by leaving official rates on hold at its February meeting.

Mr Stevens said on top of the Reserve’s own lift in official rates, the commercial banks actions had effectively delivered three and a half interest rate rises to mortgages cases, and in the case of Westpac customers, four rate hikes.

He said one of the advantages of lifting rates as the RBA did in the last three months of 2009 was that it could hold rates in February and get a clearer picture of how the economy was travelling.

“You get that luxury when you can wait a little a bit further down the line,” he said.

Mr Stevens said Australia had performed much better than even the RBA had expected out of the global recession.

But he warned that meant the economy was now heading into an upswing stronger than otherwise would have been the case.

“With the economy having had only a mild downturn with begin the upswing with less spare capacity than would typically be the case after a recession,” he said.

“There’s less scope for robust demand growth without inflation starting to rise again down the track.

“Monetary policy must be careful not to overstay a very expansionary setting.”

Mr Stevens said the resources sector in particular was looking to grow quickly, with the terms of trade likely to head back to the record highs seen in 2008 this year.

He also highlighted the strength of Australia’s sovereign debt position, hosing down fears the country was carrying too much debt.

“Australia’s position is by any measure very strong indeed,” he said.

The governor also played down fears raised by Opposition finance spokesman Barnaby Joyce that Australia could default on its debts.

Mr Stevens said Australia had never defaulted before and there were no signs it would now.

“I very much doubt there ever will be,” he said. 

“Monetary policy must be careful not to overstay a very expansionary setting.”

Mr Stevens said the resources sector in particular was looking to grow quickly, with the terms of trade likely to head back to the record highs seen in 2008 this year.

He also highlighted the strength of Australia’s sovereign debt position, hosing down fears the country was carrying too much debt.

“Australia’s position is by any measure very strong indeed,” he said.

The governor also played down fears raised by Opposition finance spokesman Barnaby Joyce that Australia could default on its debts.

Mr Stevens said Australia had never defaulted before and there were no signs it would now.

“I very much doubt there ever will be,” he said.

Source www.thewest.com.au

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WESTERN AUSTRALIA — The first gold has been poured and the initial copper concentrate shipment made at the Boddington mine belonging to Newmont Mining of Denver. At full production, this will be Australia’s largest gold mine.

The Boddington mine is a large open pit 130 km southeast of Perth within the Saddleback Greenstone Belt. Newmont believes Boddington has significant exploration potential, with gold reserves increasing from 16.6 million oz in 2007 to 20.1 million oz in 2008 and an expected mine life in excess of 24 years.

Source  :  www.canadianminingjournal.com

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SOCCEROOS coach Pim Verbeek looks to have secured the services of promising Perth-born Middlesborough defender Rhys Williams.

The youngster turned down Wales to pledge his international future to Australia. pim-verbeek
The 20-year-old, who has a Welsh grandfather, has played 10 times for the Wales under-21 side but is yet to kick a ball for the senior line-up despite being called into the squad several times.

Williams had recently threatened to commit to Wales after being overlooked for the Socceroos but Verbeek, who is in Europe keeping tabs on Australia’s overseas-based players, has convinced the versatile defender to pursue his dream of playing for Australia.

Williams’ fate now lies with FIFA’s transfer committee but if he gets the rubber stamp he could be eligible to be selected for Australia’s World Cup qualifier in Qatar on June 6.

“Rhys has informed us that he wants now to play for Australia,” Wales spokesman Ceri Stennett said of Williams, who can play in central defence or at right back.

“The wheels are now in motion, and a decision will be made by FIFA’s transfer committee.

“But it looks like a fait accompli now.”

Williams, who left Australia at 16 to become a trainee at Middlesborough, made a name for himself this season on loan at promotion-chasing Championship club Burnley.

He impressed in 17 appearances with the club before being forced to return to Middlesborough before the promotion playoffs after failing to have his loan deal extended.

Burnley will face Reading on Wednesday morning (AEST) for a place in the promotion playoff final against Sheffield United.

Williams was not in Middlesbrough’s squad for Tuesday’s 3-1 loss to Newcastle, which consigned them to almost certain relegation, but he could feature in their final two games of the season.

His displays for the Middlesbrough reserves prior to joining Burnley earned him a contract extension with the club until June 2011 and also attracted the attention of Welsh under 21s coach Brian Flynn.

Williams first forced himself into the senior Wales set-up for last September’s qualifier against Azerbaijan but was yet to make his senior debut which, under FIFA regulations, would have meant he could not play for Australia.

His manager Gary Williams said in March the player saw his future with Wales because he had not had contact from anyone else, but hinted he was still interested in playing for Australia.

Wales said they would not be hurried into giving him a cap just to ensure he he was tied to them and, with his 21st birthday looming, Verbeek has now convinced Williams he has a future with the Socceroos.

www.news.com.au


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