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THE NEWS WRAP: Westpac latest ‘big four’ bank to hint that interest rates will rise

By Oliver Milman
Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Westpac has become the latest of the ‘big four’ banks to hint that interest rates will have to rise.

 

Speaking at a Sydney business forum, Westpac CEO Gail Kelly said that the bank had a different view to the government on interest rates, predicting that rates will rise to offset “materially” higher funding costs. 

 

Last week, the Reserve Bank kept rates at 4.5%. However, ANZ CEO Mike Smith was quick to point out that the banks are unlikely to stick to this rate, to the disappointment of many small firms.

 

Australia becoming a white collar nation

 

Australia is becoming a white-collar, services-based economy, reports the Australian Financial Review. The newspaper cites government figures that show a large increase in administrative, healthcare and technical positions in the economy. The shift, claim experts, is towards a highly-educated work-force in service-based roles.

 

Government pressed over skills gap

 

Small businesses suffering from skills shortages would benefit from more flexible apprenticeships, according to training providers. EE-Oz

Training Standards, the skills council for the communications and energy industries, has written to MPs to ask them to expandpre-apprenticeship programs and cash incentives for firms to offer training.

 

Overnight

 

The Australian dollar was marginally down from its US99 cent high to US98.42 cents. However, the Commonwealth Bank predicted that it will hit parity with the US dollar by the end of the week.

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