CPI fell 1.9 per cent in the June 2020 quarter

Media Release

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) fell 1.9 per cent in the June 2020 quarter according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). Chief Economist for the ABS, Bruce Hockman said: "This was the largest quarterly fall in the 72 year history of the CPI."

The June quarter fall was mainly the result of free child care (-95.0 per cent), a significant fall in the price of automotive fuel (-19.3 per cent) and a fall in pre-school and primary education (-16.2 per cent), with free pre-school being provided in NSW, Victoria and Queensland. Mr Hockman said: "Excluding these three components, the CPI would have risen 0.1 per cent in the June quarter."

Some CPI components recorded notable price rises on the back of increased spending: cleaning and maintenance products (+6.2 per cent); other non-durable household products, which includes toilet paper (+4.5 per cent); furniture (+3.8 per cent); major household appliances (+3.0 per cent); and audio, visual and computing equipment (+1.8 per cent).

The annual inflation rate was -0.3 per cent in the year to the June 2020 quarter. Mr Hockman said: "Since 1949, this was only the third time annual inflation has been negative. The previous times were in 1962 and 1997-98."

COVID-19 impacted a range of CPI components in the June quarter, which were discussed in the article Measuring the CPI during a time of COVID-19. Importantly, there was very minimal impact in the June quarter on the collection of data used to measure the CPI.

Measures of underlying inflation were less impacted by the significant falls in child care and automotive fuel, with the Trimmed mean (-0.1 per cent) and Weighted median (+0.1 per cent) both relatively flat for the quarter.

Two additional insights into the June quarter CPI have been released: CPI exclusion-based measures and Underlying inflation measures.

The ABS thanks all those who contributed to the data included in this publication.

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