Inflation Ignited: Australia's September Quarter Sees 1.2% Surgeinflation,Australia,Septemberquarter,surge
Inflation Ignited: Australia's September Quarter Sees 1.2% Surge

Inflation Ignited: Australia’s September Quarter Sees 1.2% Surge

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Inflation on the Rise: Higher Fuel Prices Push Consumer Price Index Higher to 1.2%

The latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics has revealed that Australia‘s inflation rate rose by 1.2% in the September quarter, surpassing economists’ expectations. The increase was primarily driven by higher fuel prices, which have put additional pressure on the Reserve Bank to consider raising interest rates. The consumer price index (CPI) in July-September rose from 0.8% in the previous quarter, with the annual rate reaching 5.4% compared to 6.0% in the June quarter. Economists had predicted a slightly lower annual rate of 5.3%. The September CPI also showed that consumer prices were 5.6% higher compared to the same month last year.

Speculation of Further Interest Rate Hikes

The unexpected acceleration in inflation has led to speculation that the Reserve Bank may implement another interest rate hike. The ANZ and CBA, two of the three major banks that initially predicted no further rate increases, have revised their views and now forecast a 25 basis point increase in the cash rate next month. NAB, which had previously forecast a November rate hike, has suggested the possibility of a second additional rate increase. The Reserve Bank has kept the key interest rate unchanged at 4.1% for the past four months.

Central Bank’s Response

In a recent speech, RBA Governor Michele Bullock stated that the bank would not hesitate to raise the cash rate further if there were any significant upward revisions to the inflation outlook. The RBA closely monitors the trimmed mean inflation measure, which strips out volatile price changes, and this measure rose to 1.2% in the September quarter. While the annual increase in trimmed mean inflation was 5.2% (lower than the 5.9% in the previous quarter), it still falls outside the RBA’s targeted range of 2%-3% over time.

Impact on the Australian Dollar and Share Market

Following the news of rising inflation, the Australian dollar experienced an increase as investors began to expect another interest rate rise by the Reserve Bank. The Australian dollar was buying just over 63.9 US cents, compared to about 63.6 US cents in recent trading. However, shares in the Australian share market, which tend to decline when higher borrowing costs are anticipated, reversed early gains and were down by about 0.3% in early afternoon trading.

Factors Contributing to Inflation

The Australian Bureau of Statistics highlighted the most significant price rises in various sectors. Automotive fuel prices saw a considerable increase of 7.2% in the quarter, while rents rose by 2.2%, electricity by 4.2%, and the cost of new homes by 1.3%. Fuel prices have experienced their highest increase since the March quarter of 2022 when Russia invaded Ukraine. However, the rise in rents was slower compared to the previous quarter, with the increase being moderated by the largest increase in Commonwealth rent assistance in 30 years. Government intervention also helped soften the increase in electricity prices, as energy bill relief fund rebates prevented a much higher increase. Additionally, prices for fruits and vegetables decreased by 3.7%, helping to offset the overall increase in food prices for the quarter.

The Government’s Response

Treasurer Jim Chalmers acknowledged the pressure on Australians due to global price pressures but reassured the public that the government is working to ease these pressures. Chalmers stated that without government policies to alleviate the cost of living increases, the consumer price index would have been around 0.5% higher throughout the year.

Editorial and Advice

The recent rise in inflation, driven by higher fuel prices, poses a significant challenge for the Reserve Bank. With economists now speculating on further interest rate hikes, both businesses and individuals need to assess the impact of these potential changes. Rising interest rates can lead to increased borrowing costs, affecting company profits and potentially slowing down consumer spending. It is essential for businesses to review their financial plans and strategies in light of these developments. Individuals should also consider the potential impacts on their mortgages, loans, and savings. Consulting with financial advisors or seeking professional guidance can help navigate these uncertain times.

Australian households should also be proactive in managing their expenses and budget effectively. Examining discretionary spending, exploring ways to reduce utility bills, and seeking out competitive interest rates on loans can all help mitigate the effects of rising inflation and any subsequent interest rate increases.


Inflation Ignited: Australia
<< photo by Karolina Grabowska >>
The image is for illustrative purposes only and does not depict the actual situation.

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Hannah McKenzie

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