Inflation in Australia Reaches the Highest Level in 20 years, Prompting the Central Bank to Rethink its Interest Rate Policy

The Australian National Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reported today that the Consumer Price Index (CPI), a key measure of inflation, increased 5.1% year-over-year in the first quarter of 2022.

The consumer price index for the first quarter recorded the fastest growth in 20 years as prices for energy, housing and food rose. This information has fueled expectations that the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) may raise interest rates at its May 3 meeting.

The core CPI, which excludes energy prices, rose 3.7% in Q1.

Minutes of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s April meeting, released April 19, show that the central bank is on the verge of raising interest rates for the first time in more than a decade as inflation has surged. The tight labor market has also led to higher wages.

Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Philip Lowe released a statement following the April meeting, “Over the next several months more important evidence is expected to be reviewed by the RBA Board. This includes inflation and labor costs. The committee will assess this information and the information that will be available in the future for further decision-making in policy-making.”

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