Australia news live updates: left and right fringes finding ‘common ground’ in opposition to voice, Pearson warns

LIVE – Updated at 22:52 Follow live.   22:52 Peter Hannam CPI numbers this week may flag peak of Australia’s woes Over the

weekend, the treasurer, Jim Chalmers, said “inflation is the primary defining challenge in our economy, it’s our major focus”. He also said “we hope that inflation has

now peaked and we see the peak in the December numbers that we get this week”. Remember that Treasury and the RBA both tipped the consumer price index to have come in at

8% before subsiding in 2023 (ie now). In the September quarter, CPI was up 7.3%, with the same level reached in November alone, the ABS said. Wild cards include the cost

of electricity and gas, and fruit and vegetables in the wake of big floods in recent months in key food-producing regions. (Petrol and diesel prices have been falling.)

Still, the market consensus ahead of Wednesday’s release of the December quarter numbers is reportedly for CPI to come in a modestly higher 7.5%. Gareth Aird, chief

economist of CBA, reckons the number will be 7.7%. While “still well above the RBA’s 2-3% inflation target” over time, “the upshot is the worst of the inflation ‘problem’ is

likely behind us”, he says. That’s tending to be the sentiment of financial markets, too, which have lately been trimming their forecasts for how high the central bank

will lift its key cash rate from 3.1% now. A peak may come at about 3.6%, so investors are currently speculating. Perhaps the wildest card for Australia and beyond, is

how China‘s economy is going to fare. We took a look at the Australian connections here in this weekend piece, in case you missed it: