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Australia Import Prices Gain 0.5% In Q4; Export Prices Jump 4.4%

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Import prices in Australia climbed 0.5 percent on quarter in the fourth quarter of 2018, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday.

That beat forecasts for an increase of 0.3 percent following the 1.9 percent jump in the three months prior.

The main contributors to the rise were higher prices for telecommunications and sound-recording equipment and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+3.2 percent), manufactures of metals (+3.8 percent) and fertilizers (+12.8 percent).

For the year, the Import Price Index rose 7.8 percent. The main contributor to the rise was Petroleum, petroleum products and related materials (+23.2 percent).

Export prices spiked 4.4 percent on quarter - again exceeding expectations for a gain of 2.7 percent following the 3.7 percent advance in the third quarter.

The main contributors to the rise were higher prices for metalliferous ores and metal scrap (+9.0 percent), gas, natural and manufactured (+8.6 percent), coal, coke and briquettes (+3.7 percent), gold, non-monetary (excluding gold ores and concentrates) (+3.4 percent), and cereals and cereal preparations (+4.4 percent).

For the year, the Export Price Index rose 15.7 percent. The main contributors to the rise were gas, natural and manufactured (+54.6 percent), metalliferous ores and metal scrap (+17.8 percent), and coal, coke and briquettes (+16.0 percent).

Also on Thursday, the Reserve Bank of Australia said that private sector credit was up 0.2 percent on month in December. That was shy of estimates for 0.3 percent, which would have been unchanged from the November reading.

On a yearly basis, credit was up 4.3 percent - again missing expectations for 4.4 percent, which also would have been unchanged.

Housing credit was up 0.3 percent on month and 4.7 percent on year, while personal credit fell 0.4 percent on month and 2.0 percent on year and business credit rose 0.3 percent on month and 4.8 percent on year.

Broad money was flat on month and up 2.4 percent on year.

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