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RBA head says no immediate risk to rates

Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe insists rising global interest rates have no immediate implications for Australia but has warned they may do over time.

The US central bank at a meeting on Wednesday indicated another rise in its key interest rate is likely later this year, followed by a further three in 2018.

The US Federal Reserve has raised the fed funds rate four times since December 2015 as it unwinds its ultra-low monetary policy stimulus as the US and global economies strengthen.

"A rise in global interest rates has no automatic implications for us here in Australia," Dr Lowe told the American Chamber of Commerce in Australia in Perth on Thursday.

"Notwithstanding this, an increase in global interest rates would, over time, be expected to flow through to us, just as the lower interest rates have."

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development upgraded its global growth forecast for 2018 to 3.7 per cent, which would be the strongest in seven years.

Labor's finance spokesman Jim Chalmers welcomed the upgrade, saying it is good news for the Australian economy.

He said Australia has become a bit of a laggard in the world economy having been a leader during the 2008-2009 global financial crisis.

"(Treasurer) Scott Morrison is really running out of excuses now for growth with a one in front of it, underemployment at record highs, wages growth at record lows, living standards declining in the last national accounts figures," Mr Chalmers told Sky News.

Annual growth was running at 1.8 per cent at the end of June.

Even so, the risk of an Australian interest rate rise next year has become a hot topic among economists following the recent run of strong jobs growth.

Financial markets are predicting a rise in the cash rate in mid-2018 and another by early 2019, which would take it to two per cent from its record-low 1.5 per cent.

However, the OECD has cautioned central banks about being too hasty in tightening monetary policy, worried about the sustainability of global economic expansion.

In its latest interim economic outlook the OECD warned the long period of low interest rates has boosted house prices and created financial distortions that will be "testing to resolve".

It says Australia is among a handful of advanced economies where elevated house prices have raised financial stability risks, if rising interest rates were to trigger a housing market correction.

Topics: Interest Rates

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