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Homeowners face finding another $50 a month to pay the mortgage, with the Reserve Bank tipped to lift official interest rates again today as it battles to dampen house prices and keep inflation pressures at bay.

A quarter percentage point rise this afternoon would mean official rates would have climbed 1.25 percentage points since October, adding more than $240 to the monthly repayments on a $300,000 mortgage.

It would be the biggest run of increases in a 12-month period since the Reserve took the official cash rate from 5 per cent to 6.25 per cent between November 1999 and August 2000.

But the decision could be a close call, with signs of softness in the retail and building sectors lifting expectations the Reserve may wait at least another month before moving in the week before Treasurer Wayne Swan hands down the Federal Budget.

At least mortgage holders may be saved from a “super-sized” lift to their repayments, with the NAB yesterday saying it would not increase its rates more than any move in the official cash rate. Its recent policy of matching rate rises had led to more customers.

That prompted Mr Swan to challenge other major banks to follow NAB’s lead.

TD Securities senior strategist Annette Beacher expects the Reserve board to hold rates today.

But Macquarie Bank rate strategist Rory Robertson said the chance of a rate rise was about 80 per cent.

“Interest rates here remain unusually low, our jobs market is strengthening, China and bulk-commodity prices are booming, so, too, local home prices, and the world’s biggest economy increasingly is getting back on its feet,” he said.

A new survey from Dun and Bradstreet of business executives out today shows sales, growth, employment and capital investment expectations all rising. 

Source  :  www.thewest.com.au

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Gale force winds tipped to hit Perth this weekend have forced two ferry operators to cancel all trips to Rottnest Island.                                                         sea storm               

The popular Rottnest Express confirmed it has cancelled all bookings from Friday to Sunday inclusive while Oceanic Cruises will not operate on Saturday or Sunday.

The third company which operates ferry trips to the island, Rottnest Fast Ferries, was already closed until July 3 for its regular winter break.

A Rottnest Express spokesman confirmed there had been “a few” bookings and all passengers would be issued refunds, while Oceanic Cruises did not have any bookings for this weekend.

Bureau of Meteorology public weather services manager Neil Bennett said waters from Yanchep to Mandurah and offshore to Rottnest Island could expect winds reaching between 30 to 40 knots on Friday and Saturday.

Mr Bennett said it was likely the Bureau would issue at least a strong wind warning but likely a gale force wind warning for the area.

Source  :   www.thewest.com.au

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