The strong figures came while the size of an expected RBA rate rise over the next year, as foreseen by the market, grew rapidly.
On Wednesday of last week, the market predicted 25 basis points in rate increases on top of the current 7.25% interest rate. Today the expectation was 57 basis points, according to Credit Suisse.
That's a swing of more than 100 percentage points from mid-April when the market was looking for a rate cut of nearly 50 basis points.
A large part of the jump - 27 basis points - happened over the holiday weekend when Australian markets were closed. Overseas, however, crude oil hit a new high of $US139. And that's a cost that will be felt in the domestic economy, suggesting the RBA will have trouble contending with offshore sources of inflation.
The domestic economy showed little signs of slowing down, either.
National Australia Bank's monthly business survey for May showed business confidence rose 4 index points, to -4 points, an improvement.
"The Reserve Bank has been relying on business confidence for its own confidence that growth will slow sufficiently to contain inflation," ICAP economist Matthew Johnson said.
He noted that last month's low number may just have been a reaction to the flurry of rate rises in 2008. Last month, the NAB business confidence index shrank -8%.
"Now that rates have stabilised in May, business confidence in bouncing back," he said.
Business conditions remained the same, according to the NAB survey, steady at 7 points as they were in April.
Job advertisements were steady in May in trend terms, with the number of jobs advertised in newspapers and online edging down 1.6%. They hit a weekly average of 270,751, following a jump of 3.1% in April, according to the ANZ Bank.
Total job advertisements in May increased 9.5% year-on-year.
In trend terms, however, the job ads were static, the bank reported.
ANZ co-head of Australian economics, Sally Auld, said in a statement that job advertisements levelled off in the first half of this year.
"This indicates that we may see a modest slowdown in monthly employment growth in coming months,'' Ms Auld said.
On Thursday the Australian Bureau of Statistics will detail how many jobs were created in May. A survey of analysts expects the number to be 13,500, down from 25,400 recorded in April.
"While the slowing in job advertisements growth is consistent with some of the weaker partial activity data we have seen across the economy in recent months, we think this reflects caution on the part of employers about hiring new staff," she said, citing the credit crunch and global economic uncertainty.
The modest slowdown won't be enough to avert another rate rise, Mr Johnson said.
"It looks like we're in for an inflationary headache," he said.
The number of home loans increased 3.1 percentage points to -3.0% in April from -6.1% in March, according to the Australia Bureau of Statistics, an improvement from the five-and-a-half year low of -6.8% in February, according to data from Bloomberg.
"Housing finance data for April continues to reflect the weight of higher mortgage rates," ANZ economist Ange Montalti said in a release.
He predicts slower housing credit growth in the second half of year, which will provide "some comfort to the RBA."
The fundamental supply-and-demand imbalance in housing remains, however. Mr Montalti said there had been little progress in filling the shortfall in supply, which could still spur more inflation.
"This is likely to intensify the inflationary pressures that have only just started coming through higher rentals."
Rising rent contributes to higher inflation, which may be another contributor for rate rises from the RBA. The central bank's measure of inflation has risen to 4.2% in the March quarter, above the RBA's preferred range of 2%-3%.
The central bank's cash lending rate stands at 7.25%, a 12-year high, squeezing business, homeowners and credit-depe
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