Higher prices for petrol, rent, holiday travel and accommodation have driven a rise in a key unofficial measure of inflation.
The monthly inflation gauge by TD Securities and the Melbourne Institute rose by 0.4 per cent in December, taking the annual rate to 2.4 per cent.
However, the main rises were in prices that often go up pre-Christmas, such as accommodation and holiday travel, while prices for clothing, footwear, alcohol and tobacco, meat and seafood fell.
The gauge shows that underlying inflation, which is what the Reserve Bank focuses on when setting interest rates, rose by just 0.1 per cent last month.
TD Securities says the figures suggest the RBA will probably wait until the middle of the year before making its next official rate cut.
"We've just pencilled in a rate cut for mid-year.
The reason why we're saying 'pencilled' is it's very tough to be definitive on anything in this global environment," said TD's head of Asia-Pacific research Annette Beacher.Â "So I think the RBA is in a very good position to wait and see, so I think at least on hold throughout February and March would be rather prudent at this stage."