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Interest rates may stay put in February: CBA

Interest rates may be put on hold in early 2010 as a result of major banks lifting their interest rates higher than the RBA’s, according to Commonwealth Bank chief executive Ralph Norris.

The Reserve Bank’s 25 basis point rate rise to 3.75 percent in December was followed by Westpac’s controversial 45 basis point rate hike for home loan borrowers.

CBA lifted its standard variable rate on home loans by 37 basis points, ANZ lifted its rate by 35 basis points while National Australia Bank (NAB) matched the Reserve Bank.

Norris said the banks’ controversial moves may result in the Reserve Bank leaving rates on hold when it next meets.

“I think given the fact that there have been interest rate increases over and above the (official cash rate) then I think it is a possibility that we might not see an increase in February,” he told Sky Business.

“I think that what has obviously occurred over the last week or so will have an impact. But we’ll just have to wait and see. It’s purely speculation at this point,” he added.