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Consumer Price Index, Australia

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) measures household inflation and includes statistics about price change for categories of household expenditure

Reference period
December 2021
Released
25/01/2022

Key statistics

  • The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 1.3% this quarter.
  • Over the twelve months to the December 2021 quarter, the CPI rose 3.5%.
  • The most significant price rises were for New dwelling purchase by owner-occupiers (+4.2%) and Automotive fuel (+6.6%).

What's new this quarter

Main features

Weighted average of eight capital cities
 Sep Qtr 2021 to Dec Qtr 2021Dec Qtr 2020 to Dec Qtr 2021
% change% change
All groups CPI1.33.5
Food and non-alcoholic beverages0.71.9
Alcohol and tobacco0.91.1
Clothing and footwear2.6-0.3
Housing1.84.0
Furnishings, household equipment and services1.13.6
Health-0.33.3
Transport2.812.5
Communication0.1-0.5
Recreation and culture1.52.1
Education0.10.6
Insurance and financial services1.22.2
CPI analytical series
 All groups CPI, seasonally adjusted1.33.7
 Trimmed mean1.02.6
 Weighted median0.92.7

Overview

Underlying inflation highest since 2014

Annual CPI inflation increased to 3.5 per cent in the December quarter, due to higher dwelling construction costs and automotive fuel prices. Trimmed mean annual inflation, which excludes large price rises and falls, increased to 2.6 per cent, the highest since June 2014.

 

Rising construction costs drive higher prices for new dwellings

High levels of building construction activity combined with shortages of materials and labour have contributed to two consecutive quarters of the largest rise in new dwelling prices since September 2000, following the introduction of the GST. Fewer payments of Government construction grants compared to the previous quarter also contributed to the rise this quarter. These grants have the effect of reducing out of pocket expenses for new dwellings being purchased.

Petrol prices at record level

Automotive fuel prices rose for the sixth consecutive quarter, resulting in the strongest annual rise since 1990. The Automotive fuel series reached a record level in the December quarter due to higher global oil prices amid economic recovery and lower global supply. The national quarterly average price for unleaded petrol increased to $1.64 per litre in the December quarter. This release includes an update to the article on the history of 'Automotive fuel in the CPI'.

 

Price rises for goods outstrips services

Price rises in automotive fuel and new dwelling purchases were the main contributors to Goods inflation in 2021. Prices also increased across a broad range of other goods with strong demand and supply disruptions leading to price rises for goods such as furniture and motor vehicles.

Two speed rental market continues across capital cities

Rents for Sydney and Melbourne fell again in the December quarter. This is the fourth consecutive quarterly fall for Sydney, and the third consecutive quarterly fall for Melbourne. Rents across the other capital cities continue to rise, reflecting low vacancy rates in those cities.

 

Rental prices for houses in Sydney and Melbourne have recovered more quickly than for other dwellings since the onset of COVID-19. Rental conditions for other dwellings remain subdued in Sydney and Melbourne. For the remaining capital cities, rents for houses and other dwellings have increased at a similar rate.

 

Non-discretionary inflation more than double Discretionary inflation

Non-discretionary annual inflation is higher than the CPI and more than twice the rate of Discretionary inflation. Non-discretionary inflation includes goods and services that households are less likely to reduce their consumption of, such as food, automotive fuel, housing and health costs.

 

Main contributors to change

CPI groups


 

Food and non-alcoholic beverages group (+0.7%)

  • Meals out and takeaway food rose 1.0% as the easing of restrictions saw restaurants and cafes review their prices to reflect higher input costs. The NSW Government's 'Dine & Discover' voucher scheme partially offset the rise as it had the effect of reducing out of pocket costs.

  • Dairy and related products rose 1.7% due to price rises for cheese, milk and yoghurt.

  • Fruit (-1.2%) partially offset the rise due to favourable growing conditions for bananas and berries.

In seasonally adjusted terms, the group rose 0.6%. The main contributors were Restaurant meals (+1.2%), Vegetables (+1.7%) and Takeaway and fast foods (+0.8%).

Over the past twelve months the group rose 1.9%. The main contributors were Meals out and takeaway food (+2.4%), Vegetables (+6.1%) and Waters, soft drinks and juices (+2.2%).  

Alcohol and tobacco group (+0.9%)

  • Tobacco (+2.1%) rose partially due to the flow-on effect of the Average Weekly Ordinary Time Earnings (AWOTE) excise increase of 1.4% that was applied on 1 September 2021. Since 2013, a 12.5% increase in the tobacco excise has led to strong rises each December quarter. 2021 was the first year since 2013 not to have the 12.5% excise tax increase applied.

In seasonally adjusted terms, the group rose 0.9%. The main contributor was Tobacco (+1.3%).

Over the past twelve months the group rose 1.1%. This was the smallest annual rise for the group since 1997. The annual movement for tobacco fell from 9.8% in the September 2021 quarter, to 1.1% in the December 2021 quarter due to the ending of the 12.5% excise tax increase, in place since 2013.

Clothing and footwear group (+2.6%)

  • Garments for women rose 3.8% due to the arrival of new season summer stock and reduced discounting compared to the high levels seen in the September quarter. 

In seasonally adjusted terms, the group rose 2.7%. The main contributor was Garments for women (+5.3%).

Over the past twelve months the group fell 0.3%. The main contributor was Garments for women (-1.7%).

Housing group (+1.8%)

  • New dwelling purchase by owner occupiers rose 4.2%. This is the largest rise since the September 2000 quarter following the introduction of the GST. Continuing strong demand for housing construction enabled builders to pass through increases in costs for both materials and labour. Government housing construction grants had less of an impact this quarter due to fewer grant payments compared to the September quarter 2021. These Government construction grants have the effect of reducing prices paid by households purchasing new dwellings.

  • The following graph shows the new dwellings series including and excluding government housing construction grants.

  • Maintenance and repair of the dwelling rose 2.4%. This was the largest quarterly rise since the September quarter 2000. The rise was mainly driven by increases in timber, hardware and paint prices due to supply shortages and strong demand stemming from heightened construction activity. 

  • Rents rose 0.1% with the continuation of subdued rental conditions in Sydney and Melbourne offsetting the strength in the other capital cities. Sydney and Melbourne continue to record higher vacancy rates compared to the remaining capital cities. 

In seasonally adjusted terms, the group rose 1.9%. The main contributor was New dwelling purchases by owner occupiers (+4.2%). 

Over the past twelve months the group rose 4.0%. The main contributor to the rise was New dwelling purchases by owner occupiers (+7.5%).

Furnishings, household equipment and services group (+1.1%)

This group includes household furnishings and services provided to households, including child care.

  • Other non-durable household products (+3.7%) rose due to price rises for toilet paper. 

  • Domestic and household services (+1.3%) rose due to price increases for hairdressing and gardening services, as well as child care (+0.9%).

In seasonally adjusted terms the group rose 1.4%. The main contributor was Other non-durable household products (+3.7%).

Over the past twelve months the group rose 3.6%. The main contributor to the rise was Furniture (+5.7%). 

Health group (-0.3%)

  • Pharmaceutical products (-1.3%) and Medical and hospital services (-0.2%) fell due to an increase in the proportion of consumers who qualify for subsidies under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and Medicare Benefits Scheme (MBS).

In seasonally adjusted terms the group rose 0.8%. Medical and hospital services (+1.0%) was the main contributor. 

Over the past twelve months the group rose 3.3%. Medical and hospital services (+4.3%) was the main contributor due to increases in Private Health Insurance premiums.

Transport group (+2.8%)

  • Automotive fuel rose 6.6% due to increased global demand for oil as COVID-19 restrictions continued to ease and global oil supply remained limited. Fuel prices reached record levels in the December quarter.

  • Motor vehicles rose 1.9% due to supply constraints restricting global supply chains, coupled with strong domestic demand. 

In seasonally adjusted terms, the group rose 2.9%. The main contributor was Automotive fuel (6.6%).

Over the past twelve months the group rose 12.5%. Automotive fuel (+32.3%) and Motor vehicles (+6.3%) were the main contributors. 


 

Communication group (+0.1%)

  • Telecommunication equipment and services rose 0.1% this quarter with new model phones replacing discounted older models, while some phone plans also increased this quarter.

The group is not seasonally adjusted.

Over the past twelve months the group fell 0.5%. 

Recreation and culture group (+1.5%)

  • Domestic holiday travel and accommodation rose 4.8% following the re-opening of state and territory borders and the commencement of the peak summer holiday period. 
  • International holiday travel and accommodation rose 16.3% following the commencement of quarantine-free travel to overseas destinations such as America and Europe.

In seasonally adjusted terms, the group rose 0.3%. Audio, visual and computing equipment  (+1.6%) was the main contributor.

Over the past twelve months the group rose 2.1%. Domestic holiday travel and accommodation (+2.4%) was the main contributor.

Education group (+0.1%)

  • Preschool and primary education (+0.1%) was the main contributor to the rise.

In seasonally adjusted terms, the group rose 0.4% this quarter. 

Over the past twelve months, the group rose 0.6%. Preschool and primary education (+1.6%) was the main contributor.

Insurance and financial services group (+1.2%)

  • Other financial services (+1.5%) was the main contributor to the rise due to an increase in real estate agent fees.

In seasonally adjusted terms, the group rose 1.2%.

Over the past twelve months the group rose 2.2%.

International trade exposure - tradable and non-tradables

The tradables and non-tradables series measure the contribution of goods and services that are highly exposed to international trade influences (tradables), and those that are mostly influenced by domestic factors (non-tradables), to overall household inflation. Examples of tradables include automotive fuel, most food items, and clothing and footwear. Examples of non-tradables include housing and education.

Tradables (+1.4% quarter, +4.9% annual)

  • Tradable goods component rose (+1.4%) due to Automotive fuel (+6.6%).
  • Tradable services component rose (+5.1%) due to International holiday travel and accommodation (+16.3%).

Non-tradables (+1.2% quarter, +2.8% annual)

  • Non-tradable goods component rose (+1.9%) due to New dwelling purchase by owner occupiers (+4.2%). 
  • Non-tradable services component rose (+0.7%) due to Domestic holiday travel and accommodation (+4.8%).

In seasonally adjusted terms, the tradables component of the All groups CPI rose 1.7% and the non-tradables component rose +1.2%.

Underlying inflation series

The Trimmed mean and the Weighted median provide measures of underlying inflation. These measures reduce the impact of irregular or temporary price changes in the CPI. For more information see Underlying Inflation Measures: Explaining the Trimmed Mean and Weighted Median.

In the December 2021 quarter:

  • The Trimmed mean rose 1.0%, following a rise of 0.7% in the September 2021 quarter.

  • Over the past twelve months to the December 2021 quarter, the Trimmed mean rose 2.6%, following a rise of 2.1% over the twelve months to the September 2021 quarter.

  • The Weighted median rose 0.9% following a rise of 0.8% in the September 2021 quarter.

  • Over the past twelve months, the Weighted median rose 2.7%, following a rise of 2.2% over the twelve months to the September 2021 quarter.

Seasonally adjusted analytical series

Seasonal adjustment is the process by which regular, calendar related effects are removed from the original series.

  • All groups CPI seasonally adjusted rose 1.3% for the quarter and 3.7% for the year.
Sep Qtr 2021 to Dec Qtr 2021 percentage change
 Original (%)Seasonally Adjusted (%)
All groups CPI1.31.3
Food and non-alcoholic beverages0.70.6
Alcohol and tobacco0.90.9
Clothing and footwear2.62.7
Housing1.81.9
Furnishings, household equipment and services1.11.4
Health-0.30.8
Transport2.82.9
Communication(a)0.1 
Recreation and culture1.50.3
Education0.10.4
Insurance and financial services1.21.2
International trade exposure series  
 Tradables1.41.7
 Non-tradables1.21.2

a. Not seasonally adjusted

A detailed explanation of the seasonal adjustment of the All Groups CPI and calculation of the trimmed mean and weighted median measures is available in Information Paper: Seasonal Adjustment of Consumer Price Indexes, 2011 (cat. no. 6401.0.55.003). Revisions to the seasonally adjusted estimates can be the result of the application of concurrent seasonal adjustment, described on the methodology page.

Capital cities comparison

All groups CPI

All groups CPI, All groups index numbers and percentage changes
 Index number(a)Percentage change
 Dec Qtr 2021Sep Qtr 2021 to Dec Qtr 2021Dec Qtr 2020 to Dec Qtr 2021
Sydney121.61.23.1
Melbourne121.41.12.5
Brisbane122.61.64.3
Adelaide120.41.53.3
Perth119.41.45.7
Hobart122.92.24.5
Darwin118.20.86.0
Canberra120.91.04.0
Weighted average of eight capital cities121.31.33.5

a. Index reference period: 2011-12 = 100.0.

In all capital cities:

  • New dwelling purchase by owner-occupiers (+4.2%) rose in all capital cities. Continuing strong demand for housing construction enabled builders to pass through increases in costs for both materials and labour. Ongoing supply constraints for materials and labour in some cities also contributed to rising prices. The largest price rise was recorded in Hobart (+8.5%), followed by Adelaide (+6.8%) and Brisbane (+6.4%). 

  • Automotive fuel increased (+6.6%) with strong rises seen across all capital cities during the quarter. Prices rose due to increased global demand for oil as a result of eased COVID-19 restrictions. The largest price rise was recorded in Hobart (+12.4%), followed by Darwin (+9.9%) and Perth (+9.4%).

  • Domestic holiday travel and accommodation (+4.8%) rose as border closures eased during the quarter, leading to increased demand for domestic airfares and accommodation. The largest price rises were recorded in Sydney (+7.8%), Perth (+5.3%) and Melbourne (+4.1%).

Capital city highlights:

At the All groups level, the CPI rose in all eight capital cities, ranging from 0.8% in Darwin to 2.2% in Hobart.

 

Sydney (+1.2%)

  • New dwelling purchase by owner occupiers (+3.4%).

  • Automotive fuel (+5.9%).

  • Domestic holiday travel and accommodation (+7.8%).

Sydney recorded an annual rise of 3.1%.

Melbourne (+1.1%)

  • New dwelling purchase by owner occupiers (+3.2%).
  • Automotive fuel (+5.4%).
  • Other financial services (+2.1%) rose, driven by real estate fees.

Melbourne recorded an annual rise of 2.5%.

Brisbane (+1.6%)

  • New dwelling purchase by owner occupiers (+6.4%).

  • Automotive fuel (+6.3%). 

  • Motor Vehicles (+3.3%).

Brisbane recorded an annual rise of 4.3%.

Adelaide (+1.5%)

  • New dwelling purchase by owner occupiers (+6.8%).

  • Automotive fuel (+8.3%).

  • Tobacco (+2.2%).

Adelaide recorded an annual rise of 3.3%.

Perth (+1.4%)

  • New dwelling purchase by owner occupiers (+5.2%). 

  • Automotive fuel (+9.4%).

  • Domestic holiday travel and accommodation rose (+5.3%).

  • Rents (+1.6%) rose due to historically low vacancy rates resulting in price rises.

Perth recorded an annual rise of 5.7%. 

Hobart (+2.2%)

Hobart recorded the largest rise of all capital cities. 

  • New dwelling purchase by owner occupiers (+8.5%).
  • Automotive fuel (+12.4%).
  • Electricity (+16.0%) prices returned to normal levels after the one-off $125 winter energy bill supplement for concession customers was applied in the previous quarter.
  • Rents (+1.1%) rose due to historically low vacancy rates resulting in price rises.

Hobart recorded an annual rise of 4.5%.

Darwin (+0.8%)

Darwin recorded the smallest rise of all capital cities. 

  • Automotive fuel (+9.9%)
  • Rents (+3.1%) rose due to continued strong levels of demand and low vacancy rates.
  • Domestic holiday travel and accommodation (-20.3%) fell, with domestic airfares decreasing for the wet (off-peak) season. Additionally, borders remained closed until late in the quarter.

Darwin recorded an annual rise of 6.0%.

 

Canberra (+1.0%)

  • Automotive fuel (+9.3%).

  • New dwelling purchase by owner occupiers (+3.0%)

  • Electricity (-5.7%) fell due to a one-off $200 rebate for concession customers.

Canberra recorded an annual rise of 4.0%.

 

Quarterly percentage change by capital city
GroupSydneyMelbourneBrisbaneAdelaidePerthHobartDarwinCanberraWeighted average of eight capital cities
All groups1.21.11.61.51.42.20.81.01.3
Food & non-alcoholic beverages0.60.50.80.70.51.20.60.90.7
Alcohol & tobacco1.20.71.00.80.50.60.81.10.9
Clothing & footwear2.91.63.61.63.81.72.41.32.6
Housing1.31.72.72.62.45.51.20.71.8
Furnishings, household equipment and services1.01.01.20.70.90.81.32.21.1
Health-0.3-0.2-0.3-0.3-0.4-0.31.1-1.6-0.3
Transport2.62.03.63.43.85.23.93.92.8
Communication0.10.30.10.10.10.10.30.30.1
Recreation & culture2.11.30.91.01.40.7-4.1-0.11.5
Education0.00.00.10.00.00.00.10.10.1
Insurance & financial services0.31.80.73.11.90.51.30.51.2

Selected tables - capital cities

All groups CPI, index numbers(a)

All groups CPI, Index numbers(a)
PeriodSydneyMelbourneBrisbaneAdelaidePerthHobartDarwinCanberraWeighted average of eight capital cities
2021 December121.6121.4122.6120.4119.4122.9118.2120.9121.3
2021 September120.2120.1120.7118.6117.7120.2117.3119.7119.7
2021 June119.4119.1119.2117.8116.8119.8115.6118.2118.8
2021 March118.5118.8118.2117.2114.6118.5114.4117.3117.9
2020 December118.0118.4117.5116.5113.0117.6111.5116.3117.2
2020 September116.8116.7116.2115.7114.1116.7110.8115.4116.2
2020 June114.7115.7113.6114.6112.1115.6109.0112.8114.4
2020 March117.4117.8116.2115.8113.5117.2111.8115.5116.6
2019 December117.1116.9116.3115.4113.1116.7111.5115.0116.2
2019 September116.5115.9115.5114.5112.6114.7111.3114.3115.4
2019 June115.9115.3114.8113.7112.0114.1111.0113.5114.8
2019 March115.1114.7114.1113.1111.2113.4110.1113.2114.1
2018 December115.2114.6114.0113.0111.3113.6111.0113.1114.1
2018 September114.7114.0113.4112.4110.8112.2110.8112.3113.5
2018 June114.0113.8112.9112.1110.2111.5110.1111.6113.0
2018 March113.6113.3112.4111.6110.0111.1109.7111.2112.6
2017 December113.3112.3112.3111.2109.9110.3109.7110.3112.1
2017 September112.5111.5111.4110.4109.5109.2109.4109.6111.4
2017 June111.7111.0111.0109.2109.0108.9108.8108.6110.7
2020-21118.2118.3117.8116.8114.6118.2113.1116.8117.5
2019-20116.4116.6115.4115.1112.8116.1110.9114.4115.7
2018-19115.2114.7114.1113.1111.3113.3110.7113.0114.1

a. Unless otherwise specified, reference period of each index: 2011-12 = 100.0.

All groups CPI, percentage changes

Percentage change (from previous financial year)
PeriodSydneyMelbourneBrisbaneAdelaidePerthHobartDarwinCanberraWeighted average of eight capital cities
2020-211.51.42.11.51.61.82.02.11.6
2019-201.01.71.21.81.32.40.21.21.3
2018-191.71.71.61.51.32.50.92.11.6
Percentage change (from corresponding quarter of previous year)
PeriodSydneyMelbourneBrisbaneAdelaidePerthHobartDarwinCanberraWeighted average of eight capital cities
2021 December3.12.54.33.35.74.56.04.03.5
2021 September2.92.93.92.53.23.05.93.73.0
2021 June4.12.94.92.84.23.66.14.83.8
2021 March0.90.81.71.21.01.12.31.61.1
2020 December0.81.31.01.0-0.10.80.01.10.9
2020 September0.30.70.61.01.31.7-0.41.00.7
2020 June-1.00.3-1.00.80.11.3-1.8-0.6-0.3
2020 March2.02.71.82.42.13.41.52.02.2
2019 December1.62.02.02.11.62.70.51.71.8
2019 September1.61.71.91.91.62.20.51.81.7
2019 June1.71.31.71.41.62.30.81.71.6
2019 March1.31.21.51.31.12.10.41.81.3
2018 December1.72.01.51.61.33.01.22.51.8
2018 September2.02.21.81.81.22.71.32.51.9
2018 June2.12.51.72.71.12.41.22.82.1
2018 March2.12.21.72.30.92.01.12.41.9
2017 December2.22.21.92.30.82.11.02.21.9
Percentage change (from previous quarter)
PeriodSydneyMelbourneBrisbaneAdelaidePerthHobartDarwinCanberraWeighted average of eight capital cities
2021 December1.21.11.61.51.42.20.81.01.3
2021 September0.70.81.30.70.80.31.51.30.8
2021 June0.80.30.80.51.91.11.00.80.8
2021 March0.40.30.60.61.40.82.60.90.6
2020 December1.01.51.10.7-1.00.80.60.80.9
2020 September1.80.92.31.01.81.01.72.31.6
2020 June-2.3-1.8-2.2-1.0-1.2-1.4-2.5-2.3-1.9
2020 March0.30.8-0.10.30.40.40.30.40.3
2019 December0.50.90.70.80.41.70.20.60.7
2019 September0.50.50.60.70.50.50.30.70.5
2019 June0.70.50.60.50.70.60.80.30.6
2019 March-0.10.10.10.1-0.1-0.2-0.80.10.0
2018 December0.40.50.50.50.51.20.20.70.5
2018 September0.60.20.40.30.50.60.60.60.4
2018 June0.40.40.40.40.20.40.40.40.4
2018 March0.30.90.10.40.10.70.00.80.4
2017 December0.70.70.80.70.41.00.30.60.6

Longer term series: all groups CPI, weighted average of eight capital cities, index numbers

 
 31 March no.30 June no.30 September no.31 December no.
2021117.9118.8119.7121.3
2020116.6114.4116.2117.2
2019114.1114.8115.4116.2
2018112.6113.0113.5114.1
2017110.5110.7111.4112.1
2016108.2108.6109.4110.0
2015106.8107.5108.0108.4
2014105.4105.9106.4106.6
2013102.4102.8104.0104.8
201299.9100.4101.8102.0
201198.399.299.899.8
201095.295.896.596.9
200992.592.993.894.3
200890.391.692.792.4
200786.687.788.389.1
200684.585.986.786.6
200582.182.683.483.8
200480.280.680.981.5
200378.678.679.179.5
200276.176.677.177.6
200173.974.574.775.4
200069.770.272.973.1
199967.868.168.769.1
199867.067.467.567.8
199767.166.966.666.8
199666.266.766.967.0
199563.864.765.566.0
199461.561.962.362.8
199360.660.861.161.2
199259.959.759.860.1
199158.959.059.359.9
199056.257.157.559.0
198951.753.054.255.2
198848.449.350.251.2
198745.346.046.847.6
198641.442.143.244.4
198537.938.839.740.5

a. nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)

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Using price indexes

Price indexes in contracts

Price indexes published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) provide summary measures of the movements in various categories of prices over time. They are published primarily for use in Government economic analysis. Price indexes are also often used in contracts by businesses and government to adjust payments and/or charges to take account of changes in categories of prices (Indexation Clauses).

Use of Price Indexes in Contracts that sets out a range of issues that should be taken into account by parties considering including an Indexation Clause in a contract using an ABS published price index.

Frequently asked questions

The Frequently Asked Questions page that has answers to a number of common questions to do with price indexes and the Consumer Price Index, in particular.

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 6401.0.