Australia’s Monthly Consumer Price Index (CPI) Indicates 5.2% Inflation Surge

Australia experienced a 5.2% rise in the monthly Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the twelve months ending August 2023, as reported by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). This marks an increase from the 4.9% observed in July.

Key Highlights:

  • The most notable contributors to the inflationary trend were Housing (+6.6%), Transport (+7.4%), Food and non-alcoholic beverages (+4.4%), and Insurance and financial services (+8.8%).
  • Across various categories, notable changes include a 10.4% increase in Bread and cereal products, a 10.1% increase in Dairy and related products, and a significant decrease of -8.3% in Fruit & vegetables.
  • Housing costs, encompassing rents, new dwelling purchases, electricity, and other household fuels, saw a collective increase of 6.6%. Specifically, rents rose by 7.8%.
  • Gas prices increased by 12.9% in the twelve months to August, slightly down from the July increase of 13.9%. This rise was primarily due to price reviews in January and July 2023, reflecting higher wholesale gas prices.
  • Electricity prices rose by 12.7% in the twelve months to August. However, in August 2023 alone, electricity prices experienced a 1.3% decrease. This was attributed to rebates from the Energy Bill Relief Fund for concession households in Melbourne.
  • New dwelling prices increased by 4.8% in the twelve months to August, reflecting high labor and material costs. This rate of price growth has eased, indicating improvements in material supply and subdued new demand.
  • Despite the overall inflationary trend, the CPI series excluding volatile items and holiday travel rose 5.5% in August, down from the rise of 5.8% in July. This series excludes Fruit and vegetables, Automotive fuel, and Holiday travel and accommodation.
  • The annual trimmed mean inflation remained steady at 5.6% in August, aligning with the rise of 5.6% in July.

The ABS also provided insights into the changes in the Electricity index, reflecting the impact of government rebates on electricity bills for concession households in various cities.

The overall data suggests a complex economic landscape, with certain sectors experiencing robust inflationary pressures while others see a degree of stabilization. The ABS will continue to monitor these trends in subsequent releases.