8:00 PM Sydney – Reserve Bank of Australia trimmed growth and inflation expectations for the year and said growth in the mining sector were offset by the weakness in hospitality, retail and manufacturing. Australian government is set to target budget surplus in its latest budget on May 8.
Australian markets traded lower after the Reserve Bank of Australia lowered its assessment of the economic growth and inflation and created more challenges for the government ahead of the latest budget on May 8.
The central bank cut its growth outlook for 2012 to 3% from 3.5% and lowered the consumer price inflation estimate to 2.5% from 3% with the core inflation to fall to 2.25% from the previous 2.75% outlook.
The ASX 200 index decreased 33 to 4,396 and All Ordinaries index slipped 35.14 to 4,459.39.
In stock trading, turnover decreased to 1.8 billion shares worth $4 billion and 353 shares gained, 631 decreased and 409 closed unchanged.
Westpac followed other banks to cut its variable mortgage rate by 32 basis points and lowered its business loans by 50 basis points. The latest cuts in rates by major banks are less than 50 points cut by the RBA.
This week, National Australia Bank passed on only 37 basis points but cut down full 50 basis points from its deposit rates and Commonwealth Bank dropped its variable home rate by 40 basis points.
News Corp fell 2 cents to $19.38 and remained in focus as the company faces multiple inquiries in the UK and at least 35 people have arrested to question the widening hacking scandal that the company covered up for nearly seven years.
David Jones Limited inched down 2 cents to $2.50, Harvey Norman Holdings closed down 3 cents at $2.01 and Woolworths gained 5 cents to $26.90. Myer edged down 2 cents to $2.42 and Kathmandu unchanged to $1.35. Billabong International Limited decreased 3 cents to $2.51.
BHP Billiton closed down 22 cents to $36.03 and Rio Tinto plunged 74 cents to $64.91.
Lynas Corporation Limited fell 2 cents to $1.07 and Iluka Resources soared 30 cents to $16.70. Newcrest Mining tumbled $1.02 to $25.65 and Kingsgate decreased 6 cents to $6.10.
Oil Search Limited slipped 8 cents to $7.31 and Santos Limited declined 42 cents to $13.69.
Westpac Banking Corporation unchanged to $22.91 and Commonwealth Bank of Australia closed slumped 6 cents to $52.62. Bank of Queensland decreased 9 cents to $6.94. ANZ dropped 20 cents to $23.44. National Australia Bank closed down 6 cents at $25.14.
Stockland decreased 7 cents to $3.22.
Qantas fell 2 cents to $1.61, Virgin Australia unchanged to 41 cents and Flight Centre declined 31 cents to $20.55.
QR National slumped 7 cents to $3.62.