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Market Update

Australia Holds Record Low Rates, Trade Deficit Expands

Author: Marcus Jacob
Last Update: 3:08 PM ET November 04 2014

5:30 PM Sydney – Australian trade deficit widened after the imports rose faster than exports and retail sales rose more than expected. Reserve Bank of Australia left reference rate at record low 2.5%, where rates have been since August 2013.

Australian market indexes gained 0.2% after trade deficit widened, retail sales increased and the reserve bank left the interest rate on hold.

The Reserve Bank of Australia left its key cash rate unchanged at a record low 2.5% where rates have been since August 2013.

The policymakers held out the low rate outlook in the near future and noted ""the most prudent course is likely to be stability in interest rates.""

The central bank estimated inflation is likely to stay within the target range of 2% to 3% over the next two years.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported retail sales in September jumped 1.2% to $23.63 billion, the best monthly gain since November 2009 and followed by 0.1% increase in August.

The department said in a separate report, trade deficit in September sharply widened to $2.26 billion compared to a deficit of $1.01 billion in August as exports in September rose 1% to $26.46 billion while imports climbed 6% to $28.72 billion.

Australian dollar fell to 87.17 U.S. cents and in stock-trading turnover declined to 563 million shares worth $3.97 billion.

ASX 200 Index increased 13 or 0.2% to 5,519.90 and broader All Ordinaries Index rose 13.20 to 5,498.20.

In commodities trading, gold declined US$26 to US$1,169 an ounce and light crude oil slumped 58 cents to US$80.54 a barrel.

Australian Stock Movers

AWE Limited dropped 2% to $1.71 after the oil and gas explorer completed sell 11.25% stake of BassGas infrastructure & Yolla field and 9.75% interest in Trefoil field to Prize Petroleum Company Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of India-based Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited for $85 million.

AJ Lucas Group Limited surged 8.7% to 75 cents after the infrastructure, construction and mining service provider won order for expansion of Goldfields Gas Pipelines and construction of the 293 kilometer gas transmission pipeline as a part of APA Group’s $140 million gas Pipeline expansion project.

Worleyparsons Limited gained 0.6% to $13.39 after the engineering services provider secured contract from the U.S.-based ConocoPhillips for about $167 million to renovate the Ekofisk platform on Norwegian North Sea and will be executed from its Stavanger facilities in Norway.

Sources: Data collected by 123jump.com and Ticker.com from company press releases, filings and corporate websites. Market data: BATS Exchange. Inc