Inflation cools beyond expectations 

Posted by Anton Murray Consulting on 14 Feb, 2024


The Consumer Price Index (CPI) lifted 0.6 per cent during the December quarter, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), resulting in an annual increase of 4.1 per cent. The 0.6 per cent increase was much lower than the 1.2 per cent rise in the September 2023 quarter, and represented the smallest quarterly rise since the March 2021 quarter. It also surpassed expectations, with the market agreeing on a likely 0.8 per cent lift. “While prices continued to rise for most goods and services, annual CPI inflation has fallen from a peak of 7.8 per cent in December 2022, to 4.1 per cent in December 2023,” said Michelle Marquardt, ABS head of prices statistics.

The most significant contributors to the December quarter rise were housing (+1.0 per cent), alcohol and tobacco (+2.8 per cent), insurance and financial services (+1.7 per cent), and food and non-alcoholic beverages (+0.5 per cent). Housing was driven by new dwellings purchased by owner occupiers (+1.5 per cent), rents (+0.9 per cent) and utilities (+0.6 per cent). “Higher labour and material costs contributed to price rises this quarter for construction of new dwellings. The 1.5 per cent increase is slightly higher than the 1.3 per cent rise in September 2023 quarter,” Ms Marquardt said.

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