Australia Q1 wage progress slows, soothes inflation worries By Reuters


By Wayne Cole

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australian wage progress unexpectedly slowed from 15-year highs within the first quarter, information confirmed on Wednesday, probably marking the height for this cycle and one other signal the labour market was lastly beginning to loosen.

Crucially, the pullback ought to soothe long-running issues a couple of potential price-wage spiral and reduce strain for an additional price rise from the Reserve Financial institution of Australia (RBA).

“With job vacancies dwindling and the labour market loosening, we think that employers will grant smaller pay hikes over coming months,” mentioned Marcel Thieliant, head of Asia-Pacific economics at Capital economics.

“Accordingly, today’s data will ensure that the RBA doesn’t hike interest rates any further but we still expect the bank to wait until Q1 next year before loosening policy.”

Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Wednesday confirmed the wage worth index rose 0.8% within the March quarter, lacking market forecasts for a 0.9% rise. It was the smallest improve since late 2022.

Annual pay progress ticked right down to 4.1%, from 4.2%, once more underneath expectations. Notably, progress within the non-public sector additionally dipped to 4.1%, its first fall because the third quarter of 2020.

Wages within the public sector rose a modest 0.5% within the quarter, pulling annual progress down to three.8% from 4.3%.

The general improve in annual wages was nonetheless simply sufficient to take it above inflation of three.6%, a welcome return to actual pay progress after years of unfavourable outcomes.

Incomes will get an added enhance from a serious spherical of tax cuts slated to begin in July, whereas the Labor authorities introduced new rebates on power and lease prices in its annual funds on Tuesday.

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The rebates may have the mechanical impact of pulling headline inflation down briefly, however may additionally enhance spending energy and thus demand.

“The positive fiscal impulse to growth is likely to be seen as unhelpful at cooling the economy at the margin,” mentioned Andrew Boak, an economist at Goldman Sachs.

“However, we do not expect the central bank to be too worried about the new “value of residing” initiatives fuelling a surge in demand against the current backdrop of extremely weak trends in consumer confidence and per capita consumption.”

He nonetheless thinks the RBA will begin reducing charges in November, although notes the danger is for relieving to be delayed till subsequent yr given service inflation is proving very sticky.

Markets indicate little probability of a price reduce till April 2025, with round an 8% threat of yet another hike later this yr.

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