5 reasons why Australia's inflation rate will not follow the US uptick
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5 reasons why Australia’s inflation rate will not follow the US uptick

The latest US inflation figures came in hotter than expected

By Bronwyn Allen
Tue, Apr 16, 2024 2:09pmGrey Clock 2 min

Inflation in Australia is unlikely to follow last week’s surprising uptick in the United States, according to AMP deputy chief economist Diana Mousina. US inflation increased 0.4 percent in March, pushing the yearly inflation rate to 3.5 percent, up from 3.2 percent in February. This is well above the US Federal Reserves 2 percent target, and prompted analysts to push back their predictions on the timing of a US interest rate cut. The official US cash rate range is currently 5.25 to 5.5 percent.

Australian and US inflation are now at similar levels. Our annual inflation rate is currently 3.4 percent, as per the monthly report for February. The rate was the same in January. Ms Mousina said Australian inflation peaked in December 2022, which was about six months after the US economy. While analysts have been watching US trends ever since for insights as to what may happen here, Ms Mousina said it was unlikely that Australia would also record an uptick in inflation for March.

we think Australian inflation will see a further slowing from here, unlike the recent pattern in the US, Ms Mousina said. There are five key reasons for this, starting with how domestic conditions in the US and Australia have been impacted differently by monetary policy. Firstly, most US home loans are on long-term fixed interest rates. Most Australian mortgages are on variable rates, so mortgage repayments have lifted considerably and eaten into household budgets for living expenses.

US outstanding mortgage rates have risen by 0.5 percentage points, compared to 3.2 percentage points in Australia. This is despite Australia increasing interest rates by 1 percent less than the US. As a result, households are in worse shape in Australia than the US.

Ms Mousina said retail trading, real household disposable income and consumer confidence were down in Australia but rising in the US. A softer consumer weighs on spending and inflation,” she said.

Ms Mousina also said high US wages growth was keeping services inflation elevated. Australian wages growth has also increased, to its highest level since 2009, but is likely to taper off from here. “… the unemployment rate is expected to lift as labour demand has slowed,” she said. Softer wages growth in 2024 will see a softening in services inflation.

Prices in regular US price surveys have recently recorded an uptick, while prices in Australia have been trending down. Additionally, Australian pipeline inflation pressure, which gives a four-month lead on inflation trends, continues to head lower. Pipeline pressure is measured using energy and agricultural commodities prices, shipping rates, price surveys, advertised salaries on Seek and the China Producer Price Index. “… when we look at our Australian pipeline indicator, there is still a further slowing in inflation likely to occur, whereas progress in the US inflation indicator has stalled,” Ms Mousina said.

The last reason why Australia is unlikely to record an uptick in inflation is technical differences in the measurement of inflation between the two countries. The US CPI data has a high weighting to housing at 33 percent, including both rents and ‘owners equivalent rentwhich reflects property values. In Australia, only rents are included in the CPI index, with a weighting of just 5.8 percent. Both rents and owners equivalent rent have had high inflation in the US,” she said. “If Australia had a higher weighting to rents, then services inflation would remain higher for longer, as very elevated Australian population growth is keeping rental inflation high.


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35 North Street Windsor

Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

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Should AI Have Access to Your Medical Records? What if It Can Save Many Lives?

We asked readers: Is it worth giving up some potential privacy if the public benefit could be great? Here’s what they said.

Tue, May 28, 2024 4 min

We’re constantly told that one of the potentially biggest benefits of artificial intelligence is in the area of health. By collecting large amounts of data, AI can create all sorts of drugs for diseases that have been resistant to treatment.

But the price of that could be that we have to share more of our medical information. After all, researchers can’t collect large amounts of data if people aren’t willing to part with that data.

We wanted to see where our readers stand on the balance of privacy versus public-health gains as part of our series on ethical dilemmas created by the advent of AI.

Here are the questions we posed…

AI may be able to discover new medical treatments if it can scan large volumes of health records. Should our personal health records be made available for this purpose, if it has the potential to improve or save millions of lives? How would we guard privacy in that case?

…and some of the answers we received. undefined

Rely on nonpartisan overseers

While my own recent experience with a data breach highlights the importance of robust data security, I recognise the potential for AI to revolutionise healthcare. To ensure privacy, I would be more comfortable if an independent, nonpartisan body—overseen by medical professionals, data-security experts, and citizen representatives—managed a secure database.

Anonymity cuts both ways

Yes. Simply sanitise the health records of any identifying information, which is quite doable. Although there is an argument to be made that AI may discover something that an individual needs or wants to know.

Executive-level oversight

I think we can make AI scanning of health records available with strict privacy controls. Create an AI-CEO position at medical facilities with extreme vetting of that individual before hiring them.

Well worth it

This actually sounds like a very GOOD use of AI. There are several methods for anonymising data which would allow for studies over massive cross-sections of the population without compromising individuals’ privacy. The AI would just be doing the same things meta-studies do now, only faster and maybe better.

Human touch

My concern is that the next generations of doctors will rely more heavily, maybe exclusively, on AI and lose the ability or even the desire to respect the art of medicine which demands one-on-one interaction with a patient for discussion and examination (already a dying skill).


People should be able to sign over rights to their complete “anonymised” health record upon death just as they can sign over rights to their organs. Waiting for death for such access does temporarily slow down the pace of such research, but ultimately will make the research better. Data sets will be more complete, too. Before signing over such rights, however, a person would have to be fully informed on how their relatives’ privacy may also be affected.

Pay me or make it free for all

As long as this is open-source and free, they can use my records. I have a problem with people using my data to make a profit without compensation.

Privacy above all

As a free society, we value freedoms and privacy, often over greater utilitarian benefits that could come. AI does not get any greater right to infringe on that liberty than anything else does.

Opt-in only

You should be able to opt in and choose a plan that protects your privacy.

Privacy doesn’t exist anyway

If it is decided to extend human lives indefinitely, then by all means, scan all health records. As for privacy, there is no such thing. All databases, once established, will eventually, if not immediately, be accessed or hacked by both the good and bad guys.

The data’s already out there

I think it should be made available. We already sign our rights for information over to large insurance companies. Making health records in the aggregate available for helping AI spot potential ways to improve medical care makes sense to me.

Overarching benefit

Of course they should be made available. Privacy is no serious concern when the benefits are so huge for so many.

Compensation for breakthroughs

We should be given the choice to release our records and compensated if our particular genome creates a pathway to treatment and medications.

Too risky

I like the idea of improving healthcare by accessing health records. However, as great as that potential is, the risks outweigh it. Access to the information would not be controlled. Too many would see personal opportunity in it for personal gain.

Nothing personal

The personal info should never be available to anyone who is not specifically authorised by the patient to have it. Medical information can be used to deny people employment or licenses!

No guarantee, but go ahead

This should be allowed on an anonymous basis, without question. But how to provide that anonymity?

Anonymously isolating the information is probably easy, but that information probably contains enough information to identify you if someone had access to the data and was strongly motivated. So the answer lies in restricting access to the raw data to trusted individuals.

Take my records, please

As a person with multiple medical conditions taking 28 medications a day, I highly endorse the use of my records. It is an area where I have found AI particularly valuable. With no medical educational background, I find it very helpful when AI describes in layman’s terms both my conditions and medications. In one instance, while interpreting a CT scan, AI noted a growth on my kidney that looked suspiciously like cancer and had not been disclosed to me by any of the four doctors examining the chart.


This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

35 North Street Windsor

Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

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