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Wages rise in Australia more than expected

Australian wages grew at a faster pace than economists estimated in the first quarter, led by paychecks for miners.

The wage price index, which measures hourly pay rates excluding bonuses, advanced 0.9 percent from the previous three months, when it rose 1 percent, the statistics bureau said on Wednesday. That compares with forecasts for a 0.8 percent gain.

Wednesday’s data and last week’s unexpected decline in unemployment add to the case for Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens to pause interest-rate reductions at its next meeting on 5 June. The Reserve Bank of Australia cut the benchmark by half a percentage point this month after quarter-point reductions in November and December as the economy struggled to gain traction, inflation slowed and house prices fell.