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Australia Living Costs

07 May 2020 by News Desk

Australia Living Costs rose 8.5% in March 2020, following a rise of 0.6% in February and a fall of 0.4% in January 2020.

The following industries rose in seasonally adjusted terms in March 2020:

Food retailing (24.1%), Other retailing (16.6%), and Household goods retailing (9.1%). Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (-22.9%), Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (-22.6%), and Department stores (-8.9%) fell in seasonally adjusted terms in March 2020.

The following states and territories rose in seasonally adjusted terms in March 2020: New South Wales (8.0%), Victoria (7.7%), Queensland (8.8%), Western Australia (9.9%), South Australia (9.4%), Tasmania (8.9%), the Australian Capital Territory (9.5%), and the Northern Territory (11.6%).

In volume terms, the seasonally adjusted estimate for Australian turnover rose 0.7% in the March quarter 2020.

Australia Living Costs

In the March 2020 quarter, the living costs of pensioner and beneficiary households rose 0.8%.

Over the same period, the living costs of age pensioner households rose 0.8%, other government transfer recipient households rose 0.7%, self-funded retiree households rose 0.2% and employee households rose 0.1%.

Pensioner and beneficiary households (+0.8%)

2.2% rise in food and non-alcoholic beverages was the main contributor as drought conditions saw price rises in fruit, vegetables, dairy, grain and cereal products in the March quarter. Bushfires increased transport costs for some fresh produce and strong export demand combined with falling supply resulted in further price rises for meat.

5.1% rise in health was driven by pharmaceutical products and medical and hospital services due to a reduction in the proportion of consumers who qualify for subsidies under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and Medicare Benefits Scheme (MBS). The safety net thresholds for both the PBS and MBS were reset on 1 January, increasing out-of-pocket expenses.

2.7% fall in transport was the main partial offset, driven by automotive fuel as recent falls in world oil prices flowed through to fuel prices.

The living cost index (LCI) for the pensioner and beneficiary households (PBLCI) recorded a larger rise compared to the CPI (+0.3%) this quarter. This was due to PBLCI households having a higher expenditure weight for food and non-alcoholic beverages and health, both of which rose this quarter.

Over the past twelve months the PBLCI rose 2.4% while the CPI rose 2.2%.

Employee households (+0.1%)

1.9% rise in food and non-alcoholic beverages was the main contributor as drought conditions saw price rises in fruit, vegetables, dairy, grain and cereal products in the March quarter.

1.7% fall in recreation and culture was the main partial offset, driven by international holiday travel and accommodation and domestic holiday travel and accommodation due to winter off-peak season in Europe and America and weak demand in domestic accommodation.

1.3% fall in insurance and financial services was driven by mortgage interest charges, following recent cuts in interest rates.

The LCI for employee households recorded a smaller rise compared to the CPI (+0.3%) this quarter due to the inclusion of mortgage interest charges, which fell this quarter.

Over the past twelve months the LCI for employee households rose 1.1% while the CPI rose 2.2%. This was due to a fall in mortgage interest charges which is not included in the CPI.

Age pensioner households (+0.8%)

4.6% rise in health was the main contributor driven by pharmaceutical products and medical and hospital services.
2.2% rise in food and non-alcoholic beverages was the main contributor as drought conditions saw price rises in fruit, vegetables, dairy, grain and cereal products in the March quarter.

2.6% fall in transport was the main partial offset, driven by automotive fuel.

The LCI for age pensioner households recorded a larger rise compared to the CPI (+0.3%) this quarter.

Over the past twelve months the LCI for age pensioner households rose 2.4% while the CPI rose 2.2%.

Other government transfer recipient households (+0.7%)

2.2% rise in food and non-alcoholic beverages was the main contributor as drought conditions saw price rises in fruit, vegetables, dairy, grain and cereal products in the March quarter.

6.3% rise in health was driven by pharmaceutical products and medical and hospital services.

2.7% fall in transport was the main partial offset, driven by automotive fuel.

The LCI for other government transfer recipient households recorded a larger rise compared to the CPI (+0.3%) this quarter.

Over the past twelve months the LCI for other government transfer recipient households rose 2.4% while the CPI rose 2.2%.

Self–funded retiree households (+0.2%)

2.1% rise in food and non-alcoholic beverages was the main contributor as drought conditions saw price rises in fruit, vegetables, dairy, grain and cereal products in the March quarter.

1.9% rise in health was driven by pharmaceutical products and medical and hospital services.

2.0% fall in recreation and culture was the main partial offset, driven by international holiday travel and accommodation and domestic holiday travel and accommodation due to winter off-peak season in Europe and America and weak demand in domestic accommodation.

1.9% fall in transport was driven by automotive fuel.

The LCI for self–funded retiree households recorded a smaller rise compared to the CPI (+0.3%) this quarter. This was due to self-funded retiree households having a higher expenditure weight for holiday travel and accommodation, which fell this quarter.

Over the past twelve months the LCI for self–funded retiree households rose 2.3% while the CPI rose 2.2%

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