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6401.0 - Consumer Price Index, Australia, Dec 2011 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/01/2012   
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MAIN CONTRIBUTORS TO CHANGE


CPI GROUPS

The discussion of the CPI groups below is ordered in terms of their absolute significance to the change in All groups index points for the quarter (see tables 6 and 7).

Weighted average of eight capital cities, Percentage change from previous quarter
Graph: Weighted average of eight capital cities, Percentage change from previous quarter



FOOD AND NON–ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES GROUP (–1.5%)

The food and non–alcoholic beverages group fell in the December quarter 2011. The most significant contributors were fruit (–13.4%) and vegetables (–5.0%). The fall in fruit prices was mainly attributable to a decrease of approximately 46% in the price of bananas in the December quarter 2011 due to good supplies following the shortages created by Cyclone Yasi in February 2011. Restaurant meals (+0.8%) and coffee, tea and cocoa (+5.7%) provided the most significant offsets.

Over the twelve months to the December quarter 2011, the food and non–alcoholic beverages group rose 2.5%. Fruit rose 24.4% over the twelve months to the December quarter 2011 mainly due to increases in the price of bananas due to the shortages during 2011.


HOUSING GROUP (+0.4%)

The housing group rose in the December quarter 2011 mainly due to increases in rents (+1.0%), new dwelling purchase by owner–occupiers (+0.3%) and electricity (+0.6%).

Over the twelve months to the December quarter 2011, the housing group rose 4.0%.


RECREATION AND CULTURE GROUP (+0.8%)

The recreation and culture group rose in the December quarter 2011 due to increases in domestic holiday travel and accommodation (+7.3%) and audio, visual and computing media and services (+2.3%). This was partially offset by falls in audio, visual and computing equipment (–3.4%), international holiday travel and accommodation (–1.9%) and games, toys and hobbies (–2.7%).

In the CPI, airfares are collected in advance (at the time of payment), but are only used in the CPI in the quarter in which the trip is undertaken. International airfares are collected two months in advance (October for travel in December) and domestic airfares are collected one month in advance (October for travel in November).

Over the twelve months to the December quarter 2011, the recreation and culture group rose 0.5%.


HEALTH GROUP (–1.2%)

The health group fell in the December quarter 2011. The most significant contributors were pharmaceutical products (–5.6%) and medical and hospital services (–0.2%). This fall was partially offset by a rise in dental services (+0.7%).

The main reason for the fall in pharmaceutical products was a greater proportion of consumers exceeding the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme safety net compared to the September quarter 2011.

Over the twelve months to the December quarter 2011, the health group rose 3.6%.


ALCOHOL AND TOBACCO GROUP (+0.9%)

The alcohol and tobacco group rose in the December quarter 2011. The most significant contributors were beer (+1.2%), tobacco (+0.9%) and spirits (+1.2%). The rise in beer was partially due to the flow on effect of the federal excise tax increase from 1 August 2011.

Over the twelve months to the December quarter 2011, the alcohol and tobacco group rose 3.1% largely due to increases in the federal excise tax which is applied on 1 February and 1 August each year.


INSURANCE AND FINANCIAL SERVICES GROUP (+0.6%)

The insurance and financial services group rose in the December quarter 2011. The main contributors to the rise were insurance (+1.3%), other financial services (+0.5%) and deposit and loan facilities (direct charges) (+0.1%). The rise in insurance was primarily due to increases in premiums for house and household contents insurance.

Over the twelve months to the December quarter 2011, the insurance and financial services group rose 5.6%.


COMMUNICATION GROUP (+1.1%)

The communication group rose in the December quarter 2011. The most significant contributor was telecommunication equipment and services (+1.1%).

Over the twelve months to the December quarter 2011, the communication group rose 1.6%.


CLOTHING AND FOOTWEAR GROUP (–0.5%)

The clothing and footwear group fell in the December quarter 2011. The main contributor was accessories (–3.7%) driven by pre–Christmas sales. This fall was partially offset by a rise in garments for women (+0.6%).

Over the twelve months to the December quarter 2011, the clothing and footwear group rose 2.6%.


FURNISHINGS, HOUSEHOLD EQUIPMENT AND SERVICES GROUP (+0.1%)

The furnishings, household equipment and services group rose in the December quarter 2011. The main contributors to the rise were child care (+2.6%) and furniture (+1.1%). The rise was partially offset by falls in major household appliances (–3.4%) and other non–durable household products (–1.1%).

Over the twelve months to the December quarter 2011, the furnishings, household equipment and services group rose 0.2%. This was partly due to an increase in child care (+8.5%) in the same period.


TRANSPORT GROUP (0.0%)

The transport group recorded no change in the December quarter 2011. Automotive fuel (+0.7%) recorded an increase which was largely offset by a fall in motor vehicles (–1.2%).

During 2011, the average monthly price of automotive fuel rose in July (+0.5%), fell in August (–0.2%), rose in September (+1.8%) and October (+1.1%) and fell in November (–2.1%) and December (–0.5%).

The following graph illustrates the movement of the average daily prices for unleaded petrol for the weighted average of eight capital cities over the last fifteen months.

Diagram: Transport group (0.0%)

Over the twelve months to the December quarter 2011, the transport group rose 4.0%.


EDUCATION GROUP (0.0%)

The education group recorded no change in the December quarter 2011.

Over the twelve months to the December quarter 2011, the education group rose 5.8%.


INTERNATIONAL TRADE EXPOSURE – TRADABLES AND NON–TRADABLES

The tradables component (see Table 8) of the All groups CPI fell 1.2% in the December quarter 2011. Prices for the goods and services in this component are largely determined on the world market. The tradables component represents approximately 40% of the weight of the CPI. The most significant contributors to the 1.1% fall in the tradable goods component were fruit, pharmaceutical products, vegetables, audio, visual and computing equipment, motor vehicles and accessories. The most significant offsetting rises were for automotive fuel, audio, visual and computing media and services and tobacco. The fall in the tradable services component of 1.9% was driven by international holiday travel and accommodation.

The non–tradables component of the All groups CPI rose 0.7% in the December quarter 2011. Prices for the goods and services in this component are largely determined by domestic price pressures. The non–tradables component represents approximately 60% of the weight of the CPI. The non–tradable goods component rose 0.3% mainly due to beer, new dwelling purchase by owner–occupiers, electricity, and take away and fast foods. The most significant offsetting fall was poultry. The non–tradable services component rose 0.9%, due to increases for domestic holiday travel and accommodation, rents, telecommunication equipment and services, child care, insurance and restaurant meals.

Over the twelve months to the December quarter 2011, the tradables component rose 1.8% and the non–tradables component rose 3.9%. This compares to them rising 3.3% and 3.6% respectively through the year to the September quarter 2011.

A detailed description of which expenditure classes are classified as tradable and non–tradable in the 16th series is shown in Appendix 1 of the September quarter 2011 issue of Consumer Price Index, Australia (cat. no 6401.0).


SEASONALLY ADJUSTED ANALYTICAL SERIES

The expenditure class 'Fruit' was affected by unusually high prices during 2011 following shortages created by the floods and Cyclone Yasi in early 2011. Adjustments were made this quarter to the seasonally adjusted series in 2011 to take this into account. These adjustments were in addition to those previously made. Revisions to the seasonally adjusted estimates are also due to the application of concurrent seasonal adjustment, described in paragraph 15 of the Explanatory Notes.

In the December quarter 2011, the All groups CPI, seasonally adjusted rose 0.2%, compared with the original All groups CPI recording no change.

The trimmed mean rose 0.6% in the December quarter 2011, compared to a revised rise of 0.4% in the September quarter 2011. Over the twelve months to the December quarter 2011, the trimmed mean rose 2.6% compared to a revised rise of 2.4% over the twelve months to the September quarter 2011.

The weighted median rose 0.5% in the December quarter 2011, compared to a revised rise of 0.4% in the September quarter 2011. Over the twelve months to the December quarter 2011, the weighted median rose 2.6% compared to a revised rise of 2.7% over the twelve months to the September quarter 2011.

A detailed explanation of the seasonal adjustment of the All Groups CPI is available in Information Paper: Seasonal Adjustment of Consumer Price Indexes, 2011 (cat. no. 6401.0.55.003). This paper includes a description of the seasonal adjustment method applied, the trimmed mean and the weighted median.


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