CANBERRA, AAP – Australians are worrying about cost of living pressures, fuelled by a jump in petrol prices to record highs.
The weekly ANZ-Roy Morgan consumer survey found inflation expectations jumped 0.3 percentage points to five per cent, the highest level since December 2014.
“The rise in average petrol prices of more than 10 per cent nationally in the past two weeks likely had an impact on household perceptions of price increases,” ANZ head of Australian economics David Plank said.
In the past week alone, the Australian average for unleaded petrol rose 8.8 cents per litre to a record of 169.5 cents.
Rising fuel costs are expected to feature in Wednesday’s release of the consumer price index for the September quarter.
However, underlying inflation – which smooths out excessive price swings and is more linked to interest rate decisions made by the RBA – is likely to remain subdued and below the two to three per cent target band.
Meanwhile, confidence among Melburnians rose 1.2 per cent, and across Victoria by 1.5 per cent, as the state opened after more than two months of lockdown trying to contain the coronavirus.
However, there was a mixed picture across the rest of country, resulting in a 0.2 per cent decline in the consumer confidence index, and ending a six week run of gains.
Consumer confidence is a pointer to future household spending.
Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s weekly credit and debit card spending data shows a rebound in spending as restrictions in in NSW, Victoria and ACT ended.
National spending rose three per cent for week ending Friday, October 22, with a seven per cent lift in NSW and two per cent increase in Victoria.
CBA chief economist Stephen Halmarick said national spending growth had now recovered to be only slightly below the pace recorded prior to the lockdowns.
Rising vaccination rates are pointing to a faster-than-expected recovery.
Across Australia more than 86 per cent of the eligible population aged over 16 have now had their first COVID-19 jab, while 73 per cent are fully vaccinated with two doses.