Canberra, April 26 (IANS) Australia’s Treasurer Jim Chalmers on Wednesday said the country has passed the peak of the inflation crisis but cost-of-living pressures would hang around.

His remark was in response to the data published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) earlier in the day which revealed that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose by 7 per cent in the 12 months to March — down from 7.8 per cent in the year to December, reports Xinhua news agency.

Prices rose by an average of 1.4 per cent in the first three months of 2023 — the smallest quarterly rise since the end of 2021.

The price of most goods and services rose but Michelle Marquardt, head of price statistics at the ABS, said increases were smaller than in recent quarters.

However, there were steep price jumps for medical services, tertiary education and household fuels between December and March, driving the CPI increase.

Domestic holiday costs also increased by 4.7 per cent and fruit and vegetable prices by 2.4 per cent.

Annual inflation for goods was 7.6 percent in March compared to the 9.5 per cent recorded in December, largely attributed to price falls for furniture, appliances and clothing.

Annual inflation for services was 6.1 per cent in March — the highest figure since 2001.