The ABS Consumer Price Index rose 1.6% in the March quarter 2011, compared with a rise of 0.4% in the December quarter 2010. This is the largest quarterly rise in the CPI since June quarter 2006 when the CPI increased 1.6%.
The most significant price rises this quarter were for automotive fuel (+8.8%), vegetables (+16.0%), deposit and loan facilities (+4.6%), fruit (+14.5%) and pharmaceuticals (+12.5%). The most significant offsetting price falls were for furniture (–6.2%), audio, visual and computing equipment (–7.2%), milk (–6.2%), overseas holiday travel and accommodation (–1.6%) and motor vehicles (–0.5%).
Fruit prices increased by 14.5% in the March quarter 2011 mainly due to an increase of approximately 100% in the price of bananas during the March quarter 2011 due to shortages following floods and Cyclone Yasi. Vegetable prices increased by 16.0% in the March quarter 2011, driven by price rises in cauliflowers, broccoli, lettuce, pumpkin and potatoes due to damage to crops as well as the usual seasonal price rises.