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Jan. 26, 2021, 9:22 p.m. EST

Australia's consumer prices rise in Q4

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By David Winning

SYDNEY--Australia's consumer prices rose 0.9% in the fourth quarter, adding to pressure on the country's central bank to end its asset-purchase program.

Economists had expected a quarterly CPI rise of 0.7%.

The rise in CPI was largely influenced by higher tobacco excise duties and government stimulus programs, including subsidized child care and home-construction grants, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said Wednesday.

Other sectors which contributed to the higher CPI in the December quarter were domestic holiday travel--as state and territory borders reopened in the lead up to Christmas--and medical and hospital services after private-health premiums increased on Oct. 1 following a six-month freeze.

Capital Economics is among those expecting the Reserve Bank of Australia to end its quantitative easing program in April, but said it considered a rising share of long-term unemployment to be a risk to that forecast.

Write to David Winning at david.winning@wsj.com

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