Australian Inflation Slower Than Expected in 1Q

By FeaturesDow Jones Newswires

Australian consumer prices rose 0.5% in the first quarter from the fourth quarter of 2016 and were up 2.1% from a year earlier, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said Wednesday.

Economists had expected consumer prices to rise 0.6% in the quarter and 2.3% from a year earlier. Core inflation rose 0.5% in the quarter and by 1.8% from a year earlier.

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Gasoline contributed to the rise in consumer prices during the quarter, offset by big falls in international travel costs and the price of fruit and furniture.

The Reserve Bank of Australia expects a slow rise in inflation back toward its desired 2-3% target band over coming years.

The RBA is reluctant to lower interest rates to spur activity because of concerns it will add more pressure to an already frothy property market.

Interest rates are already at a record low 1.5% and many economists expect they will remain on hold this year and potentially through 2018.

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

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 25, 2017 21:54 ET (01:54 GMT)