This was higher than July's rate of 4.9%, and the uptick was led by higher fuel prices, with automotive fuel prices rising 13.9% on the year,  and 9.1% over the month.

Some of the biggest jumps were also seen in Housing (+6.6%), Transport (+7.4%), Food and non-alcoholic beverages (+4.4%), and Insurance and financial services (+8.8%).

The overall 5.2% result was in-line with market expectations, with CBA economists forecasting 5.1% - Westpac and NAB were on the money at 5.2%; ANZ was off the ball with a 4.9% call.

ABS head of price statistics Michelle Marquardt said it was helpful to exclude volatile items - in this case many of the ones leading the CPI surge.

"When excluding these volatile items from the monthly CPI indicator, the annual rise of 5.5% in August is lower than the annual rise of 5.8% in July," Ms Marquardt said.

The tempering pace of the underlying figure is likely what the RBA will hedge its bets on when the board meets for its October monetary policy decision - Michele Bullock's first as governor.

Market participants polled on 25 September as part of the ASX's RBA rate tracker ascribed a 93% chance of a hold at next week's monetary policy meeting.

NAB economist Tapas Strickland said these relatively benign inflation figures will likely mean a cash rate pause, but had pencilled in a November hike as the more detailed and reliable quarterly figures are announced for the September quarter.

"NAB sees the RBA hiking rates in November to 4.35%, and markets should be thinking about whether one more is enough given the labour market remains tight," Mr Strickland said.

"Broader measures of services inflation are running at 5.6% year-on-year, pretty much where it has been since December 2022, and illustrative of the stickiness in services inflation.

"This is reflected in non-tradeables inflation which is running at 6.2% year-on-year, while tradeables inflation has slowed to 3.4%."

Other major bank economists have flagged an extended cash rate pause, with cuts likely in 2024.

Photo by Rhys Moult on Unsplash