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Inflation remains under control

Official inflation figures released for the March quarter show consumer prices for goods and services remain under control.

The inflation figure from the Bureau of Statistics came in at 0.4 per cent, with the annual rate of consumer price increases at 2.5 per cent, slightly up from the 2.2 per cent level in the previous December quarter. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) was within the Reserve Bank’s forecast of between 2-3 per cent and was below market expectations, leaving some to wonder whether this will give scope for further interest rate cuts.

The figures released showed a 7.6 per cent rise in the average price of pharmaceutical products, a 6.5 per cent increase in tertiary education costs, 3.7 per cent rise in the price of tobacco and a 1.2% increase in the price of fuel.

However, the cost of household goods and services decreased 1.3 per cent, with furniture and textiles falling to 6.8 and 6.7 per cent respectively. Clothing and footwear was also down 3.9 per cent compared to the previous quarter in December.

As a result of the low inflation figures, the Australian dollar is poised to remain around the US $1.05 through to mid next year.

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