18 Oct 2010

Inflation tipped to rise more than predicted

6:20 am on 18 October 2010

At least one economist believes his peers and the Reserve Bank have under-estimated how high inflation is likely to have climbed in the September quarter.

According to a Reuters poll, most economists are picking the consumer price index to have gained 1% in three months to September, compared with the previous quarter.

That's slightly higher than the Reserve Bank's own forecast of 0.9% for the quarter, and 1.4% for the year.

But ASB chief economist Nick Tuffley believes inflation will come in much higher.

He's pencilled in a quarterly rise of 1.2% and an annual rise of 1.7%.

Mr Tuffley predicts Government charges will add 0.3% to inflation over the quarter and food prices are also very significant.

He expects a pick up in the housing sector due to inflation with rents increasing, and builders reporting increased construction costs.

However, Mr Tuffley does not think higher than expected inflation figures will prompt the Reserve Bank to raise interest rates any faster, or higher than it has previously indicated. The Official Cash Rate is 3%.

Mr Tuffley says he believes annual inflation will rocket in the fourth quarter to 4.5%, as that will be the first quarter to see the impact of the rise in GST.