While the price of most goods and services continues to rise, the good news is the rate of increase is continuing to slow and the markets are beginning to breathe a sigh of relief. The Consumer Price Index rose 0.8% in the June quarter and 6% annually in the lowest increase since September 2021. And in some areas prices fell including domestic holiday travel, accommodation and petrol. In the US, sharemarkets ended July higher after inflation eased to its lowest level in two years.
Nonetheless, cost-of-living pressures continued to affect our spending with a sharp fall in retail turnover of 0.8% in June. Those figures, along with the better-than-expected US data bringing concerns of tighter monetary policy, kept the ASX200 in check as some banks, commodities and miners suffered. The Australian dollar was also affected, hitting its weakest levels in more than two weeks. Unemployment remains at 3.5% with the number of people employed increasing by about 33,000 and the number of jobless decreasing by 11,000.
Meanwhile tightening global oil supplies and high hopes for the outlooks of Chinese demand have seen a steady increase in Brent crude futures to around US$84 a barrel. But iron ore continues its downward trend, falling 2.6% since the beginning of 2023.