Stronger-than-expected data makes rate hike likely

New retail trade and building approval figures suggest that an interest rate hike before the end of the year is now highly likely, an expert has said.

Data from the Australia Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has shown the national economy to be performing at better-than-expected levels, with retail trade at current prices rising 0.7 per cent in July to a seasonally adjusted $20.4 billion from an upwardly revised $20.250 billion in June.

Meanwhile, building approvals also rose 2.3 per cent to 13,732 units in July from an upwardly revised 13,425 units in June, the ABS figures showed.

Speaking to the AAP, ICAP economist Adam Carr said the data painted a "really good picture" of the Australian economy, making it likely the Reserve Bank will hike the official cash rate again in 2010.

"Certainly there is very little chance the RBA's going to be sitting on their hands til the end of the year," he said.

"I'd maintain they'd be hiking at least one more time this year, if not two."

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