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Australia inflation surges again in Q4, argues for more rate hikes By Reuters

Australia inflation surges again in Q4, argues for more rate hikes

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A customer looks at products marked with discounted prices on display at a chemist in a shopping mall in central Sydney, Australia, July 25, 2018. REUTERS/David Gray

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australian inflation shot to a 33-year high last quarter as the cost of travel and electricity jumped, a shock result that adds to the case for the country’s central bank to raise interest rates again at a policy meeting next week.

Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Wednesday showed the consumer price index (CPI) climbed 1.9% in the December quarter, outpacing market forecasts of 1.6%.

The annual rate climbed to 7.8%, from 7.3%, the highest since 1990 and more than twice the pace of wages growth. For December alone, the CPI rose 8.4% compared to the same month a year ago, up from 7.3% in November.

A closely watched measure of core inflation, the trimmed mean, rose 1.7% in the December quarter, lifting the annual pace to 6.9% and well above forecasts of 6.5%.

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