NAB joins Westpac and ANZ in forecasting early rate rise

The National Bank of Australia (NAB) has altered its forecasts for the next increase in interest rates by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) to June this year.

Earlier this month, ABC News reported that Westpac chief economist Bill Evans and experts from ANZ changed their predictions from September and July respectively.

According to the NAB, there are likely to be two increases to interest rates during 2011 – one in June or possibly July and another in September.

These have been brought forward from its last estimates, which suggested that the central bank would not make any changes until August.

The Monthly Business Survey published by the NAB noted that business conditions "slipped back" by two points in April compared with March.

It also found that labour costs rose by 1.4 per cent and that purchase costs increased 0.8 per cent month-on-month.

The last rate rise announced by the RBA was in November 2010 when it was pushed up to its current level of 4.75 per cent.

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