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Australia’s inflation rate falling on back of weak spending

The Australian Bureau of Statistics released the Consumer Price Index, Australia data for the September-quarter 2014 today. The quarterly inflation rate was 0.5 per cent (down from 0.6 per cent last quarter) and this translated into an annual rate of 2.3 per cent, down on the 3.0 per cent in the June-quarter 2014. The Reserve Bank of Australia’s preferred core inflation measures – the Weighted Median and Trimmed Mean – are still well within the inflation targetting range and are not trending up. Various measures of inflationary expectations are also flat, including the longer-term, market-based forecasts. This suggests that the RBA may consider that the major problem in the economy is declining growth and rising unemployment, especially in the context of China’s surprise slowdown announced yesterday, and may even cut rates before the year’s end. The evidence is suggesting that the economy is still very sluggish. The benign inflation outlook provides plenty of room for further fiscal stimulus.

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Inflation rises on back of health fund price hikes – generally benign

The Australian Bureau of Statistics released the Consumer Price Index, Australia data for the June-2014 quarter today. The quarterly inflation rate was 0.6 per cent and this translated into an annual rate of 3 per cent, up on 2.9 per cent in the March-quarter 2014. The Reserve Bank of Australia’s preferred core inflation measures – the Weighted Median and Trimmed Mean – are still well within the inflation targetting range and are not trending up. Various measures of inflationary expectations is also flat, including the longer-term, market-based forecasts. This suggests that the RBA will probably consider the inflation outlook to be benign and they will probably hold interest rates at their current low level. The evidence is suggesting that the economy is still very sluggish. The benign inflation outlook provides plenty of room for further fiscal stimulus.

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Australian inflation outlook – spikey but benign

The Australian Bureau of Statistics released the Consumer Price Index, Australia data for the September-2013 quarter today. The quarterly inflation rate was 1.2 per cent and this translated into an annual rate of 2.2 per cent, down on 2.4 per cent in the June-quarter 2013. The Reserve Bank of Australia’s preferred core inflation measures – the Weighted Median and Trimmed Mean – are now well within the inflation targetting range and are probably trending down. The RBA measure of inflationary expectations is also falling. This suggests that the RBA will probably consider the inflation outlook to be benign or “too low” and if the labour market continues to deteriorate (data for October out early November) then they will probably cut interest rates once before the holiday period. The evidence is suggesting that the economy is slowing under the weight of the previous federal government’s obsessive pursuit of a budget surplus and subdued private spending (particularly non-mining investment). The benign inflation outlook provides plenty of room for further fiscal stimulus.

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Australian inflation outlook – plenty of scope for a needed fiscal boost

The Australian Bureau of Statistics released the Consumer Price Index, Australia data for the June-2013 quarter today. The quarterly inflation rate was 0.4 per cent and this translated into an annual rate of 2.4 per cent, down on 2.5 per cent in the March-quarter 2013. However, if we acknowledge the inflation spike in the September-quarter 2012, and consider the annual trend, the annual inflation rate is more like 1.6 per cent, which puts it well below the lower-bound of the RBA’s inflation targetting range (2 to 3 per cent). The Reserve Bank of Australia’s preferred core inflation measures – the Weighted Median and Trimmed Mean – are now well within the inflation targetting range and are probably trending down. This suggests that the RBA will probably consider the inflation outlook to be benign or “too low” and will instead have to shift their focus to the failing labour market, which in the last month showed signs of considerable deterioration after a flat 18months.The evidence is suggesting that the economy is slowing under the weight of the federal government’s obsessive pursuit of a budget surplus. The benign inflation outlook provides plenty of room for further fiscal stimulus.

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Australia – inflation benign and plenty of room for fiscal stimulus

The Australian Bureau of Statistics released the Consumer Price Index, Australia data for the March 2013 quarter today and while the inflation rate rose a little, this was mainly due to the fact that the base March-quarter 2012 was unusually low, thus distorting the annualised figure. When we continue the most plausible recent trends the annual inflation rate is below 2 per cent and falling. The Reserve Bank of Australia’s preferred core inflation measures – the Weighted Median and Trimmed Mean – are now well within the inflation targetting range and are probably trending down. This suggests that the RBA will probably consider the inflation outlook to be benign or “too low” and will instead have to shift their focus to the failing labour market, which in the last month showed signs of considerable deterioration after a flat 12-15 months. The inflation trend clearly contradicts the commentators who have been predicting the opposite on the basis of the (modest) rise in the budget deficit over the last few years as the downturn hit Australia. Their standing in the predictions stakes continues to be dented by the data. The evidence is suggesting that the economy is slowing under the weight of the federal government’s obsessive pursuit of a budget surplus. The benign inflation outlook provides plenty of room for further fiscal stimulus.

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Buy a cake on the way to the airport – inflation continues to fall in Australia

The Australian Bureau of Statistics released the Consumer Price Index, Australia data for the June 2012 quarter today and the inflation rate continues to plummet in the face of a slowing economy. The trend over the second half of 2011 was for inflation to ease. But the plunge in the first six months of 2012 that today’s data reveals is suggesting a weakening economy notwithstanding the first-quarter national accounts data which showed above-trend growth. pointing to a very sick economy. The annual inflation rate is now estimated to be 1.2 per cent (down from 1.6 per cent in the 12 months to March 2012) with a downward trend. The Reserve Bank of Australia’s preferred inflation measures – the Weighted Median and Trimmed Mean – are now at or below its inflation targetting range. This suggests that they will soon have to consider inflation to be “too low” and as a result engage in significant monetary policy easing. The inflation trend clearly contradicts the commentators who have been predicting the opposite on the basis of the (modest) rise in the budget deficit over the last few years as the downturn hit Australia. Their standing in the predictions stakes continues to be dented by the data. The evidence is suggesting that the economy is slowing under the weight of the federal government obsession with achieving a budget surplus in the coming fiscal year.

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Australian inflation plummets as the fiscal vandals undermine the economy

The Australian Bureau of Statistics released the Consumer Price Index, Australia data for the March 2012 quarter today and the inflation rate has plummetted in the face of a slowing economy. The trend over the second half of 2011 was for inflation to ease. But the plunge in the first three months of 2012 that today’s data reveals is pointing to a very sick economy. The annual inflation rate is now estimated to be 1.6 per cent with a downward trend. As I noted last September if the trend that was apparent then continued, then the annualised rate would fall below the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) lower inflation targetting bound. That has now happened in today’s data, which means that the RBA has to consider inflation to be “too low” now and significant monetary policy easing (via their own logic) should be forthcoming next Tuesday when the RBA Board meets again. You might ask whether the “bank economists” (the private sector mavens who always think inflation is about to accelerate out of control) predicted that the March quarter inflation rate would be 0.1 per cent. The answer is that they predicted that inflation for the March would be running at 7 times the actual rate (0.7 per cent), which raises the question yet again – why does the mainstream media rely on their input to guide the public on where the economy is heading. Today’s data signals that the Australian economy is not in robust shape and the major cause of this slowdown is the irresponsible fiscal policy obsession that the Government has with achieving a budget surplus in the coming fiscal year. It is an act of vandals.

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Australia – falling inflation belies all the boom talk

The Australian Bureau of Statistics released the Consumer Price Index, Australia data for the September 2011 quarter today and it revealed that the easing in the inflation rate detected in the June quarter has continued. The last three quarters have delivered inflation rates of 1.6 per cent in March 2011, 0.9 per cent in the June quarter and now 0.6 per cent in the September quarter. If that trend continues the annualised rate will fall below the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) lower inflation targetting bound. The annualised inflation rate fell from 3.6 per cent in the June quarter to 3.5 per cent in the 12 months to September 2011. The ephemeral factors associated with the impacts of the natural disasters (floods and cyclones) that our food growing areas endured earlier this year are now dissipating. The major factors driving inflation now are utility price increases, travel and accommodation. The RBA’s preferred inflation measure (explained below) grew by 0.3 per cent. That will put downward pressure on interest rates. You might ask whether the “bank economists” (the private sector mavens who always think inflation is about to accelerate out of control) predicted this significant easing. The answer is that they predicted that inflation for the September would be running at twice the actual rate. That is, a 100 per cent error – which raises the question yet again – why does the mainstream media rely on their input to guide the public on where the economy is heading.

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Accelerating inflation has to be out there somewhere … in the dark or somewhere

Today I was trawling through old issues of the now-defunct The Public Interest quarterly today and unfortunately stumbled on a recent issue of its successor National Affairs (Number 9, Fall 2011 edition) which carried an article – Inflation and Debt – written by Chicago economist John H. Cochrane – a known free market/anti-government commentator. It was one of those articles where the analytical framework was taken from some textbook rather than being ground in the realities of the monetary system and all the evidence pointed away from the major conjecture but the conjecture was still asserted as an inevitability. The title reflects the sort of wan, desperate need to find inflation despite vast volumes of excess capacity and zero wage pressures. Accelerating inflation has to be out there somewhere … in the dark or somewhere.

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Australian inflation rate – or rather – the banana rate

The Australian Bureau of Statistics released the Consumer Price Index, Australia data for the June 2011 quarter today and it revealed a significant easing of the inflation rate on last quarter (0.9 per cent compared to 1.6 per cent in March 2011). The annualised inflation rate rose to 3.6 per cent up from 3.3 per cent in the 12 months to March 2011. While many commentators are calling this the start of a spiral in core inflation spike the data is still being driven by ephemeral factors associated with the impacts of the natural disasters (floods and cyclones) that our food growing areas endured earlier this year. The major factors driving the inflation rate are food (and that is mostly bananas) and world oil price movements. I still consider these impacts to be mostly of a transitory nature. Given that the core inflation rate is still well within the RBA’s targeting band, I do not consider there is a case for an interest rate rise next week (using their own logic). Bananas cannot keep increasing by 470 per cent every 6 months. And if they do, they are easily substituted away from.

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