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Australian Inflation Dips to 4.3%, RBA's February Rate Hike Odds Further Diminish

Source: News

In a promising development for borrowers, November witnessed a further deceleration in inflation, lessening the immediate pressure on the Reserve Bank to contemplate a rate hike in its upcoming February meeting.


The ongoing slowdown in inflation persisted throughout November, allaying concerns among borrowers about the potential escalation of interest rates at the Reserve Bank's forthcoming February meeting.


According to the latest data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the annual inflation rate in November moderated to 4.3 per cent, marking a decline from the preceding month's 4.9 per cent surge.


Notably, the headline inflation figure, marking its lowest point in 22 months, fell below economists' projections of a 4.4 per cent increase.


During November, consumers experienced a relief in price pressures concerning essential commodities like food, non-alcoholic beverages, and fuel. Simultaneously, there were rebounds in prices for rents, electricity, and insurance.


Indices measuring consumer price growth, excluding volatile commodities such as groceries, fuel, and holiday-related travel, continued their downward trend, dropping to 4.8 per cent in November from the previous month's 5.1 per cent.


Following the release of these figures, the benchmark S&P/ASX200, initially down by approximately 0.4 per cent in early trading, rebounded to trade just 0.1 per cent lower near midday.


Over the past year, inflation has notably cooled from its peak of 7.8 per cent in December 2022, a testament to the Reserve Bank's concerted efforts to stabilize the economy and bring inflation back within its targeted 2 to 3 per cent band.


Analysts expect a smooth economic transition as inflation gradually returns to pre-pandemic levels, potentially avoiding a recession. The Reserve Bank's upcoming interest rate decision on February 6 is anticipated to maintain current rates, aligning with market sentiment. The January 31 quarterly inflation report holds significant importance for the RBA's assessment of overall price pressure. Money markets had already factored in a potential rate cut by August, signaling further possible cuts by December, potentially reducing the cash rate to 3.9 per cent by year-end.

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