Reserve Bank of Australia Keeps Rates on Hold at 4.75%

This is a transcript of top stories presented by China's CCTV Business Channel as produced by CNBC Asia Pacific.

Good evening, I'm Saijal Patel and you're watching "Asia Market Daily".

The Australian dollar has given back some recent gains, after the nation posted a $205 million trade deficit in February, instead of the $1.2 billion surplus analysts had expected.

It's Australia's first trade deficit in 11 months - as natural disasters impacted exports, and imports of fuel jumped.

(SOT) John Peters, Senior Economist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia:
I guess we were expecting a weaker result this time around, but not as weak as this - on the back of the distortions coming out of the floods and cyclone in Queensland which affected coal and mineral exports. So exports are off 2 percent. But the surprise was, I suppose, despite the high dollar, that imports actually rose by 5 percent so that's an indication that domestic demand is traveling along pretty strongly at the moment.

The currency is still well above parity, after hitting a fresh 29-year high of $1.04 against the U.S. dollar yesterday.

And some say it could climb even higher, as the economy continues to improve.

Although the Reserve Bank of Australia kept its cash rate on hold today, at 4.75 percent, economists predict there will be more rate hikes to come.

(SOT) John Peters, Senior Economist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia:
We still see another full percentage point rise in rates over the coming months as the economy builds up more momentum, and the Reserve Bank will try to ensure that inflationary pressures do not really take off, via the labour market mainly.

The RBA has raised rates seven times since the Global Financial Crisis, as strong demand from China continues to fuel the country's economic recovery.

And the rebound is certainly boosting the buying power of Australians.

Data released by the Bureau of Statistics today shows the number of Aussies leaving for overseas trips in February climbed 8.8 percent, compared with the same period last year.

While the latest retail sales figures - for the month of February - show consumers splashed out at restaurants, department stores and other retail outlets.

And of course we'll be keeping a close watch on Australia's employment figures, which are due out on Thursday.

Economists polled by Reuters expect the unemployment rate to remain unchanged at 5 percent, with 22,000 jobs added to the economy.

Well, that's the latest on the Australian economy. I'm Saijal Patel from CNBC, thanks for watching "Asia Market Daily".

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