July 29, 2020

The Consumer Price Index fell 1.9 per cent in the June quarter – the largest quarterly fall in its 72-year history.

Australian Bureau of Statistics chief economist Bruce Hockman said the CPI fall was mainly the result of free child care (-95.0 per cent), a significant fall in the price of petrol (-19.3 per cent) and a fall in pre-school and primary education (-16.2 per cent).

“Excluding these three components, the CPI would have risen 0.1 per cent in the June quarter,” Mr Hockman said.

Some CPI components recorded notable price rises on the back of increased spending.

These included cleaning and maintenance products (+6.2 per cent); other non-durable household products, such as 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.

“Since 1949, this was only the third time annual inflation has been negative. The previous times were in 1962 and 1997-98,” Mr Hockman said.

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