Current Economic Conditions – REIV

May 4 2011 / 5:14 am Was written by Atwell & Co. Comments Off

Author and Source – REIV

The Australian dollar has remained very strong in the March quarter on the back of strong commodity prices. The Australian dollar has been stronger than its US counterpart, trading at around 1.05 US dollars in mid-April and is expected to remain at around the current level in the near term.

The All Groups CPI rose 1.6 per cent in the March quarter 2011 and rose 3.3 per cent through the year. Melbourne’s CPI rose 1.7 per cent for the quarter and 3.5 per cent for the year, following the Australian trend. The most significant price rises this quarter were for education (+5.7%), health (+3.9%), and food (+2.9%).

Victoria’s unemployment rate for March 2011 has decreased substantially to 4.5 per cent from the previous month’s five per cent. An increase in both full-time and part-time employment saw the total number of people employed increase for the month. The decrease in unemployment was accompanied by a decrease in the participation rate, which fell to 65.7 per cent from 66 per cent over the month. Australia’s national unemployment rate for March 2011 decreased to 4.9 per cent from the previous month’s five per cent, in seasonally adjusted terms.

The Westpac – Melbourne Institute Consumer Sentiment Index increased by 1.2 per cent to 105.3 in seasonally adjusted terms, with four of the five components increasing for the month of April 2011. The current conditions index increased by 2.2 per cent, while the expectations index increased by 0.5 per cent for the month. The main increases in sentiment were in the component indices representing good or bad time to buy major household items (+3.5%) and economic conditions next 12 months (+3.4). The survey was conducted in the week where the RBA kept the cash rate unchanged and when the Australian dollar reached a record high against the US dollar.

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