Business

Australia and Japan hold interest rates

Sydney harbour
Image caption Australia's economy has been growing for 19 years but is expected to slow down next year.

The Australian central bank has left interest rates on hold at 4.5%.

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) said the rate was appropriate as the world economic outlook remained uncertain and inflation was close to target.

It is the fourth month in a row that the RBA has left rates at this level.

Meanwhile Japan's central bank voted to keep its key lending rate at 0.1% - it has been at that level for almost two years.

Japan's economy is struggling to grow with the strong yen - at a 15-year high - holding back exports.

After 19 straight years of economic growth the Australian economy is still growing at 3.3% a year, while inflation is at 3.1%.

The RBA's governor, Glenn Stevens, said the present level of interest rates was right for the prevailing economic conditions.

He said in a statement: "With growth in the near term likely to be close to trend, inflation close to target and with the global outlook remaining somewhat uncertain, the Board judged this setting of monetary policy to be appropriate for the time being."

Mr Stevens also said he expected growth to ease back as growth in China cooled and Europe continued to experience slow economic growth.

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