Australia's central bank will increase interest rates three times in the coming year as a mining boom boosts wages and helps the economy recover from natural disasters, a Deloitte Access Economics report showed.
High resource prices and strong demand will boost Australian incomes and there won't be enough workers to satisfy jobs growth, and that will push up wages, the Business Outlook report released in Canberra said.
"That boils down to a strong demand-weak supply scenario of the kind that makes central bankers sweat," the research company said, forecasting "three official interest rate increases in the coming year — though none in the next little while."
Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Glenn Stevens has kept the official cash rate unchanged since November 2010 as the economy recovered from the country's costliest floods and the labour market lost 5,400 jobs between April and June, the weakest quarter since 2001. At 4.75 per cent, the rate is the highest among the world's developed economies.
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Increased lending rates and a high Australian dollar, which has gained 22 per cent in the past year, will crimp non-mining areas like tourism, manufacturing, farming and retailers, "intensifying" pressures from a two-speed economy, according to the report.
"The two speed economy pressures on the industrial landscape are intensifying," the report said. "Many families are doing it tough and the likes of the retailers would hurt like hell if rates rose further."
Australia's recovery from flooding earlier this year in Queensland, the nation's biggest coal-exporting state, is taking longer than forecast, the report said, reflecting comments from the central bank last week.
The economy will grow 1.9 per cent in the year ended June 30 and 3.5 per cent the following year, it said.