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AUSTRALIA: Economists expect Australia's consumer price index inflation to slow
slightly in the first quarter, keeping inflation below the Reserve Bank's target
band for the fourth quarter in a row and pointing to few indications of
inflationary pressures in the economy.
- The MNI median forecast is for headline CPI to rise 0.5% q/q in Q1, compared
with +0.6% in Q4, and is expected to keep y/y CPI at +1.9% for the second
straight quarter. Underlying CPI, is also expected to rise 0.5% q/q and 1.9%
- The main contributors to Q1 CPI are expected to be seasonal increases in
education and health, and higher energy prices. Partly offsetting this are
continued drag from clothing and footwear, communication and recreation. The
food group is expected to make no contribution due mainly to fall in fruit and
vegetable prices. For the previous five quarters economists have over-estimated
CPI, so the bias is for another downside surprise, although it is unclear how
much forecasters have already adjusted for the previous underperformance. (MNI -
For Full Story See Main Wire At 22:12 BST 04/23)