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Australian interest rate raised to 3.25 percent

AUSTRALIA'S central bank unexpectedly raised interest rates by a quarter point, the first major economy to raise the cost of borrowing amid signs the economy is recovering from the global crisis.

The Reserve Bank of Australia today raised its cash rate to 3.25 percent from 3 percent. Between September 2008 and April this year the rate was slashed a total of four and a quarter percentage points.

The central bank's governor Glenn Stevens said it was "prudent" to being gradually reducing the stimulus provided by low interest rates. He said the risk of "serious economic contraction" in Australia had passed.

Most economists had expected the central bank to leave the interest rate unchanged until November.


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