Not quite yet. The day of increased interest rates must have moved considerably closer this morning when the economic pundits were again surprised by the strength of the Australian economy. The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that retail sales in August, seasonally adjusted, grew by 0.9% following declines of 0.9% in July and 0.8% in June 2009. The median of the economists surveyed by Bloomberg had predicted a much smaller sales increase of 0.5%.

The Reserve Bank has recently given the very broadest of hints that increasing official interest rates is on its agenda but those that bet on such things do not yet think it will be done at the Board’s October meeting where the Crikey Interest Rate Indicator still has no change as the most likely outcome.

Election winning reputation on the line. Barack Obama delivers himself again to the fate of the ballot box on Friday when he fronts the International Olympic Committee meeting in Copenhagen to support his home town’s bid to conduct the 2016 Olympic Games. The Crikey Olympics Indicator thinks he can win again with Chicago the firm favourite.

A hungry lot of Crikeys. Just over half our readers eat lunch at a restaurant at least once a week and the figure rises to 62% when it comes to eating out for dinner. That’s one finding from the early analysis of responses to our restaurant eating habits survey. And, dare I report it, one of our readers nominates the Melbourne Club as his favourite eating establishment.

This initial response to our survey of restaurant eating habits of Crikey readers has been quite amazing. We are very pleasantly surprised by the number who have taken the time to complete the short questionnaire. If you have not yet done so, please do. It will help us construct a truly relevant restaurant guide which we will bring you in a couple of weeks.