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So the low inflation outcomes in the advanced economies reflect a combination of three factors – excess capacity, lower commodity prices and perceptions of reduced pricing power.I would like to offer some reflections on these three factors from an Australian perspective. While the Australian economy has performed better than many others over the past decade, we still have some spare capacity.Headline inflation here is 1 per cent and measures of underlying inflation are running at around 1½ per cent.These low inflation outcomes globally and in Australia are coexisting with low wage outcomes. The first – and the most conventional – explanation is that the low inflation reflects the economic slack in the global economy.Today, many workers in the services sectors are now also feeling this same pressure, as they too are exposed to the increased competitive pressure from globalisation and technology.And faced with more potential competitors, workers, like firms, are less inclined to put their prices up.

This increased value put on job security has made many workers less inclined to push for large wage rises.This morning I would like to focus on three interrelated issues.The first is why we have seen these low inflation outcomes across much of the world.The third factor is that there has been a shift in the perceived pricing power of many workers and businesses.This could simply be the consequence of the increased economic slack but, in my view, there is something more structural going on, driven by the globalisation of markets and technology.The second is how we think about the low inflation outcomes in Australia in the context of our flexible medium-term inflation target.

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