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Money news: inflation, rates and consumer spending

In money news that affects your hip pocket, why the RBA still needs to cut rates, and the study that urges office workers to get active.

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In money news that affects your hip pocket this Thursday.

If you needed a bit of a boost to get spending, then take a look atthe latest inflation data.

Not only has it sparked greater debate about further interest rate cuts, but it also indicates that consumer prices aren’t increasing as fast as they previously were.

On Wednesday, Bureau of Statistics data for the three months to June largely surprised financial markets after headline inflation rose just 0.4 per cent, dragging the annual rate down to 1 per cent in line with expectations and equalling a low set in June 1999.

Low inflation means that businesses and households aren’t spending as actively as the Reserve Bank of Australia would like, which isn’t good when you want an economy to grow, particularly one still transitioning from the end of the mining boom and against a backdrop of weak global growth.

Currently the official cash rate sits at 1.75 per cent, a record low. AMP Capital chief economists Shane Oliver has been among those tipping a cut to 1.5 per cent at the next RBA meeting in August.

“The June quarter inflation data is not low enough to make an RBA rate cut at next week’s meeting certain particularly given that recent economic data has been reasonably good.

“However, on balance we expect that the RBA will move again to help ensure that inflation expectations do not become entrenched below 2% as has been the case in several other countries, so that there is reasonable confidence that inflation will move back into the target zone in a reasonable time frame and to head off a rebound in the $A that will likely follow if it doesn’t cut again.”

Before the inflation data many economists were more confident of a rate cut next Tuesday, but now it seems that financial markets are calling it a 50/50 split.

See more: RBA rate dilemma

If you needed more of an excuse to get active during a busy work day, then here it is. 

A new study published in The Lancet found at least eight hours of office work a day could increase the risk of premature death by up to 60 per cent.

The study of more than one-million adults also found that those living sedentary lifestyles were posing a greater threat to public health as smoking and causing more deaths than obesity.

See more: study on lack of exercise

If you are one of the thousands of small to medium business owners who use accounting software Xero, then it’s time to expect an update to improve things.

Xero has beefed up its cloud accounting software with “a total redesign of how Xero Report Templates work for cloud accounting users,” that will enable businesses to operate much more efficiently than with traditional rigid software solutions from legacy desktop vendors.

See more: Xero’s software update

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