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Petrol price plunge; Job ads near 7-year highWeekly petrol prices; Job advertisements
Unleaded petrol: According to the Australian Institute of Petroleum, the national average Australian price of unleaded petrol fell by 4.6 cents to 142.1 cents a litre in the past week – the fifth decline in the past six weeks – and the biggest weekly fall in two years.
Job advertisements: ANZ job advertisements rose by 1.5 per cent in July and now just stand 0.2 per cent away from the 7-year high set in May. 
What does it all mean?
Petrol prices appeared to have peaked for now. Key oil producers like Saudi Arabia and Russia are vowing to lift output, and then there is the on-going uncertainty on how the US-China trade dispute will affect the global economy. It was reported by Reuters on Friday China’s Unipec, the trading arm of Sinopec, had suspended crude oil imports from the US.
The national average petrol price has fallen in five out of the past six months, down almost 8 cents a litre from highs. But prices may not have too much further to fall. The wholesale price of unleaded petrol in Australia (terminal gate price) has trended sideways over the past two months between 131-138 cents a litre. Currently the wholesale price is just over 135 cents a litre.
Unleaded petrol prices certainly vary substantially across the country. The discounting cycle has ended in Sydney and the average price is near 150 cents a litre. But Adelaide, Melbourne and Brisbane prices are near 135 cents a litre. Melbourne and Brisbane prices have been falling for over two weeks and are near the end of their discounting cycles.
Filling up the car with petrol is the single biggest weekly purchase for most families. If you miss out on filling up at the lows in the discounting cycle, you may end up paying an extra $10-15. And that could end up causing you to delay or cancel other spending plans. 
Interestingly, while there are discounting cycles for unleaded fuel in capital cities, the same can’t be said for diesel. This is a question for the fuel retailers.
According to ANZ, available jobs are a smidgen below 7-year highs. But this measure may exclude jobs advertised on individual corporate web sites or on social media. Certainly job vacancies – as measured by the Bureau of Statistics – are sitting at record highs. The bottom line is that the job market is in strong shape as evidenced by a swathe of surveys and data. More people are looking for work and finding it.
What do the figures show?Petrol prices
According to the Australian Institute of Petroleum, the national average Australian price of unleaded petrol fell by 4.6 cents to 142.1 cents a litre in the past week.
The metropolitan petrol price fell by 5.9 cents to 139.7 cents per litre and the regional price fell by 1.8 cents to 147.2 cents per litre. The gross retail margin fell by 7.4 cents to 7.30 cents.
Average unleaded petrol prices across states and territories over the past week were: Sydney (down by 1.3 cents to 137.3 c/l), Melbourne (down by 10.9 cents to 135.8 c/l), Brisbane (down 12.8 cents to 139.1 c/l), Adelaide (up by 0.3 cents to 142.8 c/l), Perth (down by 0.3 cents to 145.4 c/l), Darwin (flat at 156.6 c/l), Canberra (down by 1.0 cents to 152.9 c/l) and Hobart (flat at 158.5 c/l).
Today, the national average wholesale (terminal gate) unleaded petrol price stands at 135.3 cents a litre, up by 1.7 cents over the week. The terminal gate diesel price stands at 138.4 cents a litre, up by 1.8 cents over the past week.
The national average diesel petrol price fell by 0.3 cents to 152.1 cents a litre over the week. The metropolitan price fell by 0.4 cents to 152.0 cents a litre with the regional price down 0.2 cents to 152.2 cents a litre.
Last week the key Singapore gasoline price fell by US$1.96 or 2.3 per cent to US$82.80 a barrel. In Australian dollar terms, the Singapore gasoline price fell by $2.36 or 2.1 per cent last week to $112.35 a barrel or 70.66 cents a litre.
MotorMouth records the following average retail prices for capital cities today: Sydney 150.5c; Melbourne 133.6c; Brisbane 135.8c; Adelaide 134.0c; Perth 135.2c; Canberra 152.9c; Darwin 156.6c; Hobart 158.5c.
Job advertisements
ANZ job advertisements rose by 1.5 per cent in June after falling by 1.7 per cent in June. Job ads are up 7.3 per cent on a year ago. The number of jobs advertised (seasonally adjusted) was 178,322 in July, just 0.2 per cent down from the 7-year high of 178,745 set in May.
What is the importance of the economic data?
Weekly figures on petrol prices are compiled by ORIMA Research on behalf of the Australian Institute of Petroleum (AIP). National average retail prices are calculated as the weighted average of each State/Territory’s metropolitan and non-metropolitan retail petrol prices, with the weights based on the number of registered petrol vehicles in each of these regions. AIP data for retail petrol prices is based on available market data supplied by MotorMouth.
The monthly Job Advertisements release is a leading employment indicator. Employers only seek additional staff if business activity is strong, and more importantly, if they expect that conditions will remain favourable in coming months. It takes around 5-6 months for the new staff to be added to the payrolls. But a fall in job advertisements would have a more immediate impact on monthly employment estimates. 
What are the implications for interest rates and investors?
Last week, data showed a strong 1.2 per cent lift in the volume of retail goods sold in the June quarter. In part, lower prices are driving sales. But sales are also being supported by increased job security and higher employment. Retailers that are constantly evolving to meet customer needs and experiences have good prospects given the healthy fundamentals.
CommSec expects interest rates to remain unchanged until at least early 2019.
Published by Craig James, Chief Economist, CommSec