Australia Wages Growth Remains Modest in 3Q


The Bank has expressed confidence on a number of occasions that wage growth would improve, but that confidence will be tested by the weakness apparent in these numbers.

Earlier Wednesday, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said wage prices rose in the third quarter, disappointing expectations for an increase of 0.7%. It was marginally above the 1.94% level reported in the June quarter.

Our 0.7%qtr forecast will lift the annual pace to 2.3%yr, the fastest pace since September 2015.

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However, economists stress the stronger outcome will be the result of the Fair Work Commission's minimum wage award from July 1 - a 3.3 per cent pay rise and its largest since 2010 - rather than the start of a sustained upturn.

Wages have lagged the recovery in the Australian labour market. Both private and public sector wages rose 0.5 percent q/q.

Data on Tuesday showed that USA producer prices increased by in October, exceeding expectations for a 0.1% uptick.

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It will take into account the Reserve Bank's decision last week to again leave the cash rate at a record low 1.5 per cent and more signs of cooling across Australia's major housing markets, as well as renewed political instability from the citizenship debacle.

"In the current environment, low wage growth points to weak inflation and makes it hard for the Reserve Bank to justify higher interest rates", he says. Ongoing very-low wage growth and its implications for both the consumption and inflation trajectory suggest that monetary policy is likely to remain stimulatory for some time.

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