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Thursday, 30 April 1987
Page: 2075

Senator MAGUIRE —I ask the Minister representing the Treasurer: Has the Government been monitoring interest rate trends in recent times? If so, does the Minister have up to date information on interest rate movements in the community? Have there been any significant reductions in interest rates recently?

Senator WALSH —The 90-day bill rate on 29 April-I have rounded off the figures-was 14 1/2 per cent. The 90-day bill rate on 15 January-that is, just over three months ago-was 17 per cent. So there has been a fall of 2 1/2 percentage points in the 90-day bill rate in that period of 3 1/2 months. The 10-year bond figures, which not surprisingly have fallen by a very much smaller amount because they are long term securities, have fallen from 13.63 per cent to 12.97 per cent. They are presently below 13 per cent. This fall in interest rates, at both the short and long term ends of the securities period, has been reflected throughout the intermediate range. Of course, interest rates are higher than the Government would like them to be. The Government welcomes the continuing indication that interest rates are trending downwards. Perhaps in closing I might cite one other figure by way of comparison against which present levels of interest rates can be measured-for 90-day notes, anyway. As I said before, the present rate is 14 1/2 per cent. In April 1982, when Mr Howard was Treasurer, it was 22 per cent.