Australia is the first major western economy to raise interest rates after the global slump.
Australia\'s central bank suggested it could raise interest rates again soon as it lifted inflation forecasts for the next two years.In a quarterly monetary policy statement, the Reserve Bank of Australia on Friday said
underlying inflation, which excludes volatile price items, was expected to be around three percent in 2012 -- the top of its target band.
In February, the RBA forecast underlying inflation would remain below 3.0 percent until the end of 2012.
In the latest estimate the bank said it expects prices to rise to 3.25 percent by the end of 2013 as the economy heads toward full employment, wages rise and mining investment surges.
\"Further tightening of monetary policy is likely to be required at some point for inflation to remain consistent with the two to three percent medium-term target,\" the bank said.
It added that the board would \"set policy to ensure a continuation of the low and stable inflation that has made an important contribution to Australia?s strong economic performance over the past two decades\".
The bank left interest rates on hold at 4.75 percent earlier this week, having last lifted them in November 2010.
\"Looking ahead, given the outlooks for both the world and domestic economies, year-end underlying inflation is expected to pick up over the course of 2011,\" the RBA said.
It said one of the biggest risks was that as mining investment boomed, companies would compete aggressively for labour, leading to more pressure on wages and other costs than the bank initially envisaged.
Australia, the first major western economy to raise interest rates after the global slump, has hiked its cash rate by 175 basis points since October 2009 as it rides the Asia-driven mining boom that helped it dodge recession.
Economist and chief executive of property Group Rismark, Chris Joye, said the RBA could lift rates three times this year to tackle inflation.
\"If unemployment holds steady at 4.9 percent and wages growth remains healthy\" the RBA is very likely to hike in June, he said.