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6401.0 - Consumer Price Index, Australia, Mar 2012 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/04/2012   
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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 (-2.1%)

The food and non-alcoholic beverages group fell in the March quarter 2012. The main contributors to the fall were fruit (-30.0%) and poultry (-3.2%). The fall in fruit prices can be attributed to favourable growing conditions for most fruit following recent natural disasters. Bananas recorded a decrease of approximately 60% in the March quarter 2012 due to good supplies following the shortages created by Cyclone Yasi in February 2011. The fall in the food and non-alcoholic beverages group was partially offset by rises in waters, soft drinks and juices (+2.4%), restaurant meals (+0.5%) and take away and fast foods (+0.5%).

Over the twelve months to the March quarter 2012, the food and non-alcoholic beverages group fell 2.5%.


RECREATION AND CULTURE GROUP (-2.0%)

The recreation and culture group fell in the March quarter 2012. The main contributors to the fall were international holiday travel and accommodation (-4.8%), audio, visual and computing equipment (-6.3%) and domestic holiday travel and accommodation (-2.0%). This fall was partially offset by a rise in other recreational, sporting and cultural services (+2.0%).

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 (January for travel in March) and domestic airfares are collected one month in advance (January for travel in February).

Over the twelve months to the March quarter 2012, the recreation and culture group fell 0.9%.


HEALTH GROUP (+4.4%)

The health group rose in the March quarter 2012 with all capital cities registering a rise. The main contributor to the rise was pharmaceutical products (+14.1%) and medical and hospital services (+2.1%). Pharmaceuticals prices mainly rose as a result of the cyclical reduction in the proportion of consumers who qualify for subsidised medications under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme at the start of each calendar year.

Medical and hospital services (+2.1%) recorded an increase in the March quarter 2012 mainly due to the cyclical reduction in the proportion of consumers who qualify for subsidies for out-of-hospital medical expenses under the Medicare Benefits Scheme safety net at the start of each calendar year.

Over the twelve months to the March quarter 2012, the health group rose 4.2%.


EDUCATION GROUP (+6.0%)

The education group rose in the March quarter 2012, with the commencement of the new school year. The main contributors to the rise were secondary education (+7.7%) and tertiary education (+4.7%).

Over the twelve months to the March quarter 2012, the education group rose 6.0%.


HOUSING GROUP (+0.6%)

The housing group rose in the March quarter 2012. The main contributors to the rise were rents (+1.0%) and electricity (+3.0%).

Over the twelve months to the March quarter 2012, the housing group rose 3.4%.


TRANSPORT GROUP (+1.1%)

The transport group rose in the March quarter 2012. The main contributors to the rise were automotive fuel (+2.5%) and urban transport fares (+4.6%). This rise was partially offset by falls in motor vehicles (-0.4%).

The average monthly price of automotive fuel rose in October (+1.1%), fell in November (-2.1%), fell in December (-0.5%) and rose in January (+1.7%), February (+1.2%) and March (+3.2%).

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 (+1.1%)

Over the twelve months to the March quarter 2012, the transport group rose 2.5%.


ALCOHOL AND TOBACCO GROUP (+1.4%)

The alcohol and tobacco group rose in the March quarter 2012. The main contributors to the rise were tobacco (+2.1%) and beer (+1.6%) partially due to the effects of the federal excise tax increase. Federal excise tax is increased on 1 February and 1 August each year.

Over the twelve months to the March quarter 2012, the alcohol and tobacco group rose 3.5%.


FURNISHINGS, HOUSEHOLD EQUIPMENT AND SERVICES GROUP (-1.1%)

The furnishings, household equipment and services group fell in the March quarter 2012. The main contributors to the fall were furniture (-6.0%) and household textiles (-5.5%). This fall was partially offset by rises in child care (+4.0%).

Over the twelve months to the March quarter 2012, the furnishings, household equipment and services group rose 0.7%.


CLOTHING AND FOOTWEAR GROUP (-1.8%)

The clothing and footwear group fell in the March quarter 2012. The main contributors to the fall were garments for men (-5.1%) and garments for women (-2.5%). This fall was partially offset by rises in footwear for women (+2.7%) and accessories (+1.4%).

Over the twelve months to the March quarter 2012, the clothing and footwear group rose 1.5%.


INSURANCE AND FINANCIAL SERVICES GROUP (+1.0%)

The insurance and financial services group rose in the March quarter 2012. The main contributors to the rise were other financial services (+0.9%) and insurance (+1.4%).

Over the twelve months to the March quarter 2012, the insurance and financial services group rose 4.0%.


COMMUNICATION GROUP (+0.1%)

The communication group rose in the March quarter 2012. The most significant contributor to the rise was telecommunication equipment and services (+0.1%).

Over the twelve months to the March quarter 2012, the communication group rose 1.6%.


INTERNATIONAL TRADE EXPOSURE - TRADABLES AND NON-TRADABLES

The tradables component (see Table 8) of the All groups CPI fell 1.4% in the March quarter 2012. 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 1.2% fall in the tradable goods component were fruit, furniture, audio, visual and computing equipment, garments for men, garments for women, and household textiles. The most significant offsetting rises in the tradable goods component were for pharmaceutical products, automotive fuel, and tobacco. The fall in the tradable services component of 4.8% was driven mainly by international holiday travel and accommodation.

The non-tradables component of the All groups CPI rose 1.0% in the March quarter 2012. 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 0.7% mainly due to electricity, beer, and waters, soft drinks and juices. The most significant offsetting fall was for poultry. The non-tradable services component rose 1.2%, due to increases in secondary education, medical and hospital services, tertiary education and rents.

Over the twelve months to the March quarter 2012, the tradables component fell 1.5% while the non-tradables component rose 3.6%. This compares to them rising 1.8% and 3.9% respectively through the year to the December 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

In the March quarter 2012, the All groups CPI, seasonally adjusted fell 0.2%, compared with the unadjusted All groups CPI which recorded a rise of 0.1%.

The trimmed mean rose 0.3% in the March quarter 2012, compared to a revised rise of 0.7% in the December quarter 2011. Over the twelve months to the March quarter 2012, the trimmed mean rose 2.2% compared to a rise of 2.6% over the twelve months to the December quarter 2011.

The weighted median rose 0.4% in the March quarter 2012, compared to a revised rise of 0.6% in the December quarter 2011. Over the twelve months to the March quarter 2012, the weighted median rose 2.1% compared to a revised rise of 2.5% over the twelve months to the December 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) available on the ABS website. This paper includes a description of the seasonal adjustment method applied, the trimmed mean and weighted median.

Revisions to the seasonally adjusted estimates can be the result of the application of concurrent seasonal adjustment, described in paragraph 15 of the Explanatory Notes.


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