Prices paid to Australian producers rose less than forecast in the fourth quarter, recording the smallest increase in a year as a stronger currency lowered the cost of imports.
The producer prices index advanced 0.1 percent in the October-December period from the prior quarter, when it gained 1.3 percent, the Bureau of Statistics said in Sydney Monday. The median estimate of 19 economists surveyed by Bloomberg was for a 0.5 percent gain. The index rose 2.7 percent from a year earlier.
Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Glenn Stevens left the overnight cash rate target at 4.75 percent last month, after seven increases since October 2009 helped propel the currency to parity with the U.S. dollar. Monday’s figures cover a period before floods devastated parts of northeastern Australia, and a report tomorrow may show annual consumer-price growth at the top of the bank’s 2 percent to 3 percent target range.