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THE NEWS WRAP: RBA tipped to provide a pre-Christmas interest rate cut

Tuesday, 4 December 2012 | By Oliver Milman

The Reserve Bank of Australia has been widely tipped by economists to provide a pre-Christmas interest rate cut today, amid continued concerns about the strength of the economy.

 

A survey of 15 economists by AAP found that most expect the RBA to trim rates by 0.25% today, following its decision to freeze the cash rate at 3.25% in November.

 

Retail sales flat in October

 

Retail sales were flat in October, despite an interest rate cut that month, with new figures showing turnover was steady at $21.6 billion.

 

The Australian Bureau of Statistics said that the October flat line followed rising sales in August and September, with annual growth now standing at 3.1%.

 

The numbers are disappointing, as economists had been predicting a 0.4% lift in sales during the month.

 

ACCC to get ‘aggressive’ on competition enforcement

 

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is going to be far more “aggressive” towards businesses that stifle competition, according to a new report.

 

The watchdog’s chairman Rob Sims has told The Australian Financial Review that cartels, misuse of market power and business contracts are in the ACCC’s sights.

 

“The number of times the ACCC takes people to court for competition cases is about to increase quite significantly,” Sims says.

 

Overnight

 

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 0.46% to 12,965.60. The Australian dollar slipped to 104.18 US cents.