Inflation beats forecast for March quarter

Inflation has risen a higher than expected 0.3 per cent in the March quarter, despite softening from the previous quarter, reflecting drought and bushfire impacts and the early effects of COVID-19.

Economists had tipped a 0.2 per cent quarterly rise after a 0.7 per cent rise the previous quarter.

The consumer price index rose to a better-than-expected 2.2 per cent per cent in the 12 months to March 31, figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Wednesday showed, rising from 1.8 per cent three months earlier.

Annual inflation was expected to edge up to 1.9 per cent from 1.8 per cent. 

The most significant price rises in the March 2020 quarter were for food and non-alcoholic beverages, up 1.9 per cent, while alcohol and tobacco prices rose 1.6 per cent,.

Education rose 2.6 per cent and health rose 1.7 per cent.

The most significant price falls for the quarter were for automotive fuel, down 6.0 per cent, domestic holiday travel and accommodation, down 3.1 per cent, and international holiday travel and accommodation, down 3.0 per cent.

The Australian dollar jumped from 65.17 US cents to 65.25 in the five minutes after the data’s release. 

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