Veggie price falls lead inflation moderation

A leading private measure of inflation shows consumer price rises moderated in October, as fruit and vegetable prices eased.

The TD Securities - Melbourne Institute monthly inflation gauge rose 0.1 per cent last month, down from a 0.2 per cent rise in September and 0.6 per cent increase in August.

Prices rose most strongly for communications, newspapers, books and stationery, and domestic holiday travel and accommodation.

Fruit and vegetable prices started falling back after some strong rises in previous months, while bread and cereal products, and audio, visual and computing equipment also eased.

The trend was for the price of mainly imported tradable goods to fall (down 0.2 per cent on average), while domestic non-tradeable services tended to rise (up an average 0.3 per cent).

TD's head of Asia-Pacific research Annette Beacher says the falls in the prices of imported goods are likely to unwind if the Australian dollar remains steady or falls.

"We all expect, and certainly the RBA expects, for the fact that the Aussie dollar has been stable for quite some time, that downward drag [on prices] is going to fade over time," she told ABC News Online.

"So I'm certainly not of the view that the RBA has a lot of work to do on the interest rate front, because the Aussie dollar is doing some of the work for them." Ms Beacher expects the Reserve Bank to leave official interest rates on hold tomorrow, despite the inflation gauge showing headline inflation for the year to October at 2.4 per cent and the RBA's preferred underlying measure of inflation (which excludes the largest price movements) at 2.1 per cent, both well within its 2-3 per cent target.

"We think they've already made that pre-emptive [rate] move," she said.

"I think there enough stickiness in that September quarter [official] inflation report such that they can sit and pause and wait for the impact of past easing." However, 20 out of the 27 market economists surveyed by Bloomberg expect the RBA to cut rates by 25 basis points to 3 per cent when it meets tomorrow.

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