The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 3.4% in the 12 months to January primarily due to a rise in Housing (+4.6%), Food and non-alcoholic beverages (+4.4%), Alcohol and tobacco (+6.7%) and Insurance and financial services (+8.2%).

The CPI rose 3.4 per cent in the 12 months to January 2024.

Michelle Marquardt, ABS head of prices statistics, said: “Annual inflation for the monthly CPI indicator was steady at 3.4 per cent and remains the lowest annual inflation since November 2021.”

New dwellings and rents

New dwelling prices rose 4.8% in the 12 months to January, down from 5.1% in December. The rate of price growth continues to slow and remains lower compared to the price growth recorded over 2022, reflecting improvements in the supply of materials and subdued new demand. 

Rental prices increased 7.4% in the 12 months to January, maintaining the same annual growth from December. The rise in Rental prices continues to reflect strong demand for rental properties and tight rental markets.

Food and non-alcoholic beverages

Food and non-alcoholic beverage prices rose 4.4% in the 12 months to January, up from a rise of 4.0% in December. The main contributors were Meals out and takeaway foods (+5.7%), Food products n.e.c. (+6.9%) and Bread and cereal products (+7.4%). Meat and seafood (-2.0%) prices fell in the 12 months to January.

Electricity and Gas

Electricity prices rose 0.8% in the 12 months to January 2024, up from a rise of 0.4% in December. 

Gas prices fell 1.4% in the 12 months to January 2024, down from a rise of 8.5% in December. The annual movement was impacted by base effects, with the large monthly price rise of 8.1% in January 2023 no longer contributing to the January 2024 annual movement.

Automotive fuel

Automotive fuel prices rose 3.1% in the 12 months to January, down from a rise of 5.3% in December. Automotive fuel prices have recorded four consecutive monthly falls as global oil prices have eased.  

In monthly terms, Automotive fuel prices fell 0.9% in January, following a fall of 5.5% in December.

Inflation is critical in determining the pace and extent of interest rate changes by the Reserve Bank of Australia.

Why is the CPI being released monthly now?

The ABS began publishing a new monthly rolling series of CPI as inflation surged in 2022. The more comprehensive quarterly data set considers a broader range of items to calculate CPI.

The next release will be for February 2024 on 27 March 2024.