Thursday, January 28, 2010
Craig James trawls the CPI so you don't have to:
"There are 90 expenditure groupings in the CPI (or as the ABS says “groupings of like items”). So it’s not surprising that some of the more interesting changes get lost.
• What is interesting in the latest CPI is that a raft of food products became cheaper over the past year. In part it reflects the drought as well as Government changes such as the removal of the milk levy that was used to fund the Dairy Industry Adjustment program. But the changes are notable – such as the largest annual fall in bacon and ham prices in 29 years; the biggest fall in diary prices in 37 years and the smallest increase in tobacco prices in 12 years.
• The tough advertising conditions over the past year produced gains for consumers with the smallest lift in newspaper & magazine prices in over a decade. In fact newspaper and magazine prices actually fell for the first time on record in the December quarter, down 0.3 per cent. But with business conditions lifting together with demand for advertising, the good conditions for readers may not last.
• On the other side of the coin, the price of furniture has continued to soar despite a stronger Aussie dollar. In fact furniture has recorded the biggest annual increase in over 18 years. Tools are also far costlier – rising at the fastest pace in 11 years. If ever there was a case for shopping around and comparing prices then it certainly applies for these goods.
• It is interesting how insensitive education fees are to economic conditions. Over the past nine years, secondary education fees have risen on average by 6.9 per cent – far higher than the 2.9 per cent average lift in the overall CPI. Clearly it gets down to supply and demand. Population is rising at the fastest rate in 40 years and class sizes are drifting higher, causing parents to compete hard for the best schools...
What do the figures show?
�� Dairy and related products – down 1.0 per cent over the year – biggest fall since inception in the CPI in 1973(37 years).
�� Bread and cereal products – up 1.4 per cent over the year – smallest rise in 5 years.
�� Bacon & ham – down 4.2 per cent over the year – biggest fall since inception in the CPI in 1981 (28 years).
�� Soft drink – up 1.6 per cent over the year – smallest gain in 4½ years.
�� Eggs – down 1.3 per cent on a year ago – second biggest fall in almost 4 years.
�� Tobacco – up 2.5 per cent on a year ago – smallest rise in 12 years.
�� Electricity – up 15.7 per cent on a year ago – biggest gain in 26 years (September 1983).
�� Newspapers & magazines – up 0.7 per cent on a year ago – smallest rise in 10½ years.
�� Furniture – up 5.7 per cent on a year ago – biggest increase in 18½ years (June 1991).
�� Tools – up 6.8 per cent on a year ago – biggest increase in 11 years.
�� Optical services – up 2.8 per cent on a year ago – biggest rise in 8 years.
. Melbourne - where the milk is surprisingly expensive
. "Where d'ya get it?" In Sydney, where the toilet paper's cheap