Australian consumer inflation healthy in Q2

Sydney, July 22 (IANS) Australia’s consumer price inflation remained relatively benign in the June quarter, accelerating less rapidly then economists predicted.

The latest consumer price index rose 0.7 percent in the three months to June for an annual inflation at 1.5 percent – below the central bank’s two to three percent inflation target.

Underlying inflation, which removes the effects of volatile price movements, rose an average of 0.55 percent in the June quarter for an annual rate of 2.3 percent, Xinhua reported.

“This CPI data shows the inflation remains well contained,” St. George Bank senior economist Jo Horton said.

Horton said Australia’s petrol price, rising 12.2 percent, from the first quarter of 2015, was also a major factor driving overall prices higher.

The petrol price is unlikely to have a large impact on the next quarterly numbers due to the pressure on global oil prices, CommSec economist Savanth Sebastian said.

Economists had forecast gains of 0.8 percent and 1.7 percent respectively. Prices rose 0.2 percent and 1.3 percent in the first quarter.

The result keeps open options for the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) to again ease monetary policy if needed, however economists predict rates will remain on hold.

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