6401.0 - Consumer Price Index, Australia, Mar 2011 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/04/2011   
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Extensive flooding began in late December 2010 in Queensland, and intensified in both Queensland and other states in January 2011. In early February 2011, Severe Tropical Cyclone Yasi crossed the north Queensland coast. Gale force winds, flooding rain and storm surges caused significant damage to areas in the storm's path.

Despite some disruptions in Brisbane, all CPI collections for January 2011 were completed for the month and processing for the March quarter 2011 CPI was not affected.

On a quarter to quarter basis the prices of items can be impacted by a number of factors including exchange rates, supply constraints, specialling and seasonal patterns. The impact of events like the Queensland floods and Cyclone Yasi cannot be readily quantified.

ABS price index compilation methodologies and quality assurance processes have ensured that any impacts of the floods and cyclone on consumer prices have been reflected in the data included in this publication.

The floods and Cyclone Yasi caused price increases in some fruit and vegetables:

  • Fruit prices increased by 14.5% in the March quarter 2011, compared with a fall of 5.7% in the March quarter 2010. The rise in fruit prices was mainly attributable to an increase of approximately 100% in the price of bananas during the March quarter 2011 due to the floods and Cyclone Yasi. Through the year to the March quarter 2011, fruit prices increased by 24.9%.
  • Vegetable prices increased by 16.0% in the March quarter 2011, compared with a rise of 10.3% in the March quarter 2010. The increase in vegetable prices was driven by price rises in cauliflowers, broccoli, lettuce, pumpkin and potatoes due to damage to crops as well as the usual seasonal price rises. Through the year to the March quarter 2011, vegetable prices increased by 18.7%.