Australia Wages Growth Remains Modest in 3Q

By James Glynn Features Dow Jones Newswires

Australian wages accelerated by less than expected in the third quarter, despite a bump in minimum wages that economists had expected to lift the pay packets of around a quarter of workers.

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Australian wages rose a seasonally adjusted 0.5% in the quarter and rose 2.0% from a year earlier, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said Wednesday. Economists had expected wages to rise by 0.7% on quarter and 2.2% on-year.

The Reserve Bank of Australia remains cautious about raising interest rates, with wages growth flat overall and inflation still well short of its target of 2-3% on year.

The RBA forecast last Friday forecast muted inflation over coming years, prompting some economists to speculate interest rates will remain at record low 1.5%through 2018.

Like many other countries, Australia's job market has tightened, but as yet it is not generating meaningful wages gains or inflation pressures.

With a record household debt burden weighing on consumer spending, some economists argue inflation will remain benign for some time, even as the rest of the world enjoys stronger GDP growth and reflation.

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In the private sector, wages rose 0.5% in the third quarter from the second quarter and rose 1.9% from a year earlier.

Public-sector wages rose 0.5% in the quarter and rose 2.4% from a year earlier.

-Write to James Glynn at james.glynn@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 14, 2017 19:55 ET (00:55 GMT)