Australian inflation falls to 4.9 pct

CANBERRA, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) — Australia’s rate of inflation has fallen to its equal-lowest level in over 18 months, official data has shown.

According to figures published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) on Wednesday, the consumer price index (CPI) rose by 4.9 percent in the 12 months to October, down from the 5.6 percent increase in the year to September.

It marked the equal-lowest rise for the CPI since January 2022 when inflation was at 4 percent.

The state media Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reported that economists had generally forecast the figure would come in at 5.2 percent.

The ABS identified a 6.1 percent rise in the cost of housing between October 2022 and October 2023 as the biggest driver of inflation, followed by a 5.9 percent rise in transport costs and a 5.3 percent increase in food and non-alcoholic beverage prices in the same period.

Rent prices grew by 6.6 percent in the 12-month span, down from 7.6 percent in the year to September, and the 4.7 percent annual rise in new dwelling prices was the lowest figure since August 2021.

Electricity prices were 8.4 percent higher in October than in June 2023 but Leigh Merrington, acting head of price statistics at the ABS, said they would have been even higher if not for the federal government’s energy bill rebates for eligible households from July.

“Excluding the rebates, electricity prices would have increased 18.8 percent over this period,” he said in a media release.

Holiday travel and accommodation prices fell by 7 percent between September and October and automotive fuel prices by 2.9 percent in the same period.

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