Inflation hike won t trigger rate rise

Inflation has pushed to the top of the Reserve Bank's target band but the chances of an interest rate rise are low.

Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics out today showed consumer prices rose by 0.5 per cent in the June quarter to be 3 per cent higher over the past year.

In Perth, prices jumped by 0.8 per cent in the quarter to be equal with Darwin in having the highest annual inflation rate in the country at 3.3 per cent.

Prices for medical and hospital services jumped by 4.6 per cent, the single largest increase in the quarter. There were also sizeable increases in tobacco prices (3.1 per cent) and new dwelling purchases (up by 1.6 per cent).

Offsetting the increases were falls in domestic holiday travel and accommodation (by 3.8 per cent), petrol (by 2.7 per cent) and telecommunications equipment and services (by 1.6 per cent).

Markets had been tipping a quarterly increase of between 0.5 per cent and 0.7 per cent.

Inflation peaked in the September quarter last year when prices jumped by 1.2 per cent.

The Reserve Bank's preferred measures of underlying inflation both increased.

The trimmed mean rose by 0.8 per cent to be 2.9 per cent higher through the year while the weighted median lifted by 0.6 per cent in the quarter to be 2.7 per cent higher over the past 12 months.

In a positive sign, the non-tradeable measure of inflation - which tracks prices of goods that cannot be internationally traded - lifted by 0.5 per cent to be 3.1 per cent up at the annual measure.

The Reserve has previously expressed concern about inflation in the non-traded part of the economy.

Across all sectors, the prices of food and non-alcoholic drinks rose by must 0.4 per cent in the quarter to be 2.5 per cent higher over the year.

Alcohol and tobacco prices have climbed by 7.1 per cent over the past 12 months, education prices are up by 5.1 per cent and health by 4.9 per cent.

Clothing and footwear prices are 0.6 per cent lower over the last year while communication prices have fallen by 0.3 per cent.

The West Australian

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