The author has been described by News Ltd as an "iconoclast", "Svengali", a pollie's "economist muse", and "pungently accurate". Fairfax says he is a "Renaissance man" and "one of Australia’s most respected analysts." Stephen Koukoulas concludes that he is "85% right", and "would make a great Opposition leader." Terry McCrann claims the author thinks "‘nuance’ is a trendy village in the south of France", but can be "scintillating" when he thinks "clearly". The ACTU reckons he’s "an enigma wrapped in a Bloomberg terminal, wrapped in some apparently well-honed abs."

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Australian inflation pressures soar (our biggest hawk vindicated!)...

Well, I am pretty certain I rank as among the nation's most hawkish economic commentators. I have been unrelenting in my warnings about core and headline inflation pressures, and inflation expectations. Today I was comprehensively vindicated on the first two. And there was nowhere to hide. Headline inflation printed at 1.6%, way above the market's forecast of 1.2%, with the year-on-year headline inflation number now +3.3%, which is awkwardly above the RBA target of +2.5% at the start of a cyclical recovery.

But the much more concerning story was around core inflation. The trimmed mean printed at 0.9% (or +3.6% annualised), significantly above the market estimate of 0.6-0.7%. The weighted median printed at +0.8% (or +3.2% annualised), also way above consensus. The average was obviously +0.85% (or +3.4% annualised). Even the CPI ex volatiles measure printed at a stunning +0.9%.

So everywhere the RBA turns, there is evidence that notwithstanding the benefits of a strongly appreciating AUD, which many analysts argued would have a delayed pass-through impact from Q4, thus generating further deflation in Q1, underlying or 'core' inflation in Australia is rising at an exceptionally strong pace.

As I have said many times before, rates are heading up. And sooner than people think.