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Consumer price index (CPI) – Focus on Australia


Consumer price index Australia

The consumer price index (CPI) measures the rate at which the prices of consumer goods and services are changing over time. It is a key statistic for purposes of economic and social policy-making, especially monetary policy and social policy, and has substantial and wide-ranging implications for governments, businesses, and workers as well as households. (Consumer price index manual: Theory and Practice, 2004)

Annual and Quarterly CPI Inflation Rates, Australia

The consumer price index indicates a price change for a constant market basket of goods and services from one period to the next within the same area (city, region, or nation). The percent change in the CPI is a measure estimating inflation. The CPI can be used to index (i.e., adjust for the effect of inflation on the real value of money: the medium of exchange) wages, salaries, pensions, and regulated or contracted prices. The CPI is, along with the population census and the National Income and Product Accounts, one of the most closely watched national economic statistics.

It is one of several price indexes calculated by most national and international statistical agencies such as: The International Labour Organization, the International Monetary Fund, the Organisation for Economic and Co-operation and Development, the Statistical Office of the European Communities (Eurostat), the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe and the World Bank.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. department of labor, the CPI for all urban consumers rose 0.2% in September 2009. “The index has decreased 1.3% over the last 12 moths on a not seasonally adjusted basis”.

The latest issue released by Australia regarding CPI, was in June 2009 and the conclusions accordingly to the report were:

The all group CPI:

  • Rose 0.5% in the June 2009 quarter, compared with a rise of 0.1% in the March 2009 quarter.
  • Rose 1.5% through the year to June 2009 quarter, compared to an annual rise of 2.5% to the March 2009 quarter.

Overview of CPI movement:

  • The most significant price rises this quarter were for automotive fuel (3.6%), hospital and medical services (3.6%), rents (1.4%), furniture (3.7%) and house purchases (0.8%).
  • The most significant offsetting price falls were for deposit and loan facilities (-4.3%), vegetables (-6.9%), fruits (-7.6%) and overseas holiday travel and accommodation (-3.4%).

For the historical perspective on CPI, consult the Historical Consumer Price Index Data.


Image Source: The South Australian Centre for Economic Studies, ABS, Statistics.

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