ASX ends lower despite late recovery from US interest rate worries, Optus services ‘progressively restored’ after customer call issues — as it happened


It seems like households have been struggling with the cost-of-living crisis for years, but have you been wondering when we might be able to stop worrying about inflation?

Well, based on the latest data it’s not any time soon.

The National Australia Bank surveys hundreds of businesses every month to get a sense of their cost pressures.

Earlier this week it reported that businesses continued to report elevated rates of cost growth across both labour and materials inputs.

OK, but surely, they won’t pass these higher costs onto customers? Think again.

NAB’s report went on to say that with economic activity, or customer demand, holding up, it appears firms still have scope to pass some costs through to consumers.

And later this week what’s known as the Producer Prices Index or PPI was published in the US.

The PPI is a measure of inflation at the wholesale level or, put another way, the price pressures coming down the line for retailers.

It rose 0.6% in February, way higher than economists had forecast of 0.3%.

It’s the sharpest increase since June 2022.

It saw US bond yields rise sharply, which is a bit of a bellwether for interest rates.

Australia’s Reserve Bank meets on Tuesday to make another interest rates decision, and while it’s unlikely the RBA will increase the cash rate, the latest data has economists leaning towards the central bank having what’s known as a “hawkish tilt”.

That’s another way of saying it may be some time, perhaps as late as November this year, when borrowers might get some mortgage repayment relief.


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