SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australian inflation accelerated to its highest in over five years last quarter, data showed on Wednesday, but the long-desired pick-up is likely to be fleeting in the face of a coronavirus lockdown and collapsing energy prices. FILE PHOTO: People walk out of a mall in Nowra, Australia April 26, 2018. Picture taken April 26, 2018. REUTERS/Edgar Su The headline consumer price index (CPI) rose 0.3% in the first quarter, from the previous quarter, lifting annual inflation to 2.2% from 1.8%. That was the highest reading since the third quarter of 2014 and topped forecasts of 2.0%. It was also the first time inflation reached the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) 2-3% target band since early 2018 and could have led to a much-needed pick up in wage growth. A key measure of underlying inflation rose a surprisingly firm 0.5% in the quarter and 1.8% for the year, driven mainly by food, education, drugs and tobacco taxes. Yet all that has changed since March when much of the economy shut down and world oil prices fell off a cliff, drastic events that could lead to the largest ever fall in inflation this quarter. “Our early forecast for Q2… Read full this story
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