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27 August 12:00 AM

Inflation pulse still weak, up 1.9 %, still below RBA comfort zone

Australia's inflation pulse continues to be weak, with the first quarter consumer price index still tracking below the Reserve Bank's preferred target band, ABC news reported.

Headline inflation rose by 0.4 percent in the March quarter, or 1.9 per cent on an annualized basis, still below the RBA's 2-to-3 per cent band.

Underlying inflation, which strips out volatile items such a food and fuel and is the preferred measure of the RBA in setting interest rates, touched the 2 percent level (1.98 percent to be exact), for the fist time in more than two years.

However it may not yet ring alarm bells at the bank's Martin Place HQ, as inflation is marginally ahead of its forecast of 1.75 per cent growth by the middle of the year.

The Australian dollar, which had been steadily sliding before the inflation release, bounced briefly before slipping again.

At 11:45am (AEDT) the dollar had fallen below 76 cents against the US dollar, its lowest level since early December.

"While the annual CPI rose 1.9 percent, most east coast cities have continued to experience annual inflation above 2.0 per cent, due in part to the strength in prices related to housing and food," ABS chief economist Bruce Hockman said.

"Softer economic conditions in Darwin and Perth have resulted in annual inflation remaining subdued at 1.1 and 0.9 per cent respectively."

 

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