Lending Association

ASX up 0.08%: Australian inflation slows to 0.6%

In Q4, Australian inflation slowed to 0.6%, falling below the market consensus of 0.8%, marking the fourth consecutive quarter of declining annual inflation, with the CPI dropping from 5.4% to 4.1% over the past 12 months. This data will play a crucial role in the Reserve Bank’s upcoming monetary policy decision, with some economists still speculating about a potential rate hike to address services inflation. However, global traders are reducing expectations for rate cuts, and while there is currently no expectation of a rate increase in Australia, markets are pricing in a rate cut later in the year, with the decision potentially influenced by the US Federal Reserve’s policy announcement in the coming days.

The S&P/ASX 200 is 0.08 per cent higher at 7,606.20.

The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 8 points.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Utilities, up 1.08 per cent. The worst-performing sector is Communication Services, down 0.29 per cent.

The best-performing large cap is Mercury NZ (ASX:MCY), trading 2.33 per cent higher at $6.15. It is followed by shares in Washington H. Soul Pattinson and Company (ASX:SOL) and QBE Insurance Group (ASX:QBE).

The worst-performing large cap is Northern Star Resources (ASX:NST), trading 1.95 per cent lower at $13.07. It is followed by shares in Mineral Resources (ASX:MIN) and Harvey Norman Holdings (ASX:HVN).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$2056.20 an ounce.

Iron ore is 1.9 per cent lower at US$134.80 a tonne.

Iron ore futures are pointing to a 1.7 per cent fall.

One Australian dollar is buying 65.89 US cents.