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NZ food prices fall in September, led by groceries, fruit, vegetables

Thursday 11th October 2012

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New Zealand food prices fell in September, snapping four months of gains, reflecting lower prices for groceries and fruit and vegetables.

The food prices index fell 0.9 percent, according to Statistics New Zealand from a gain of 0.1 percent in August. Prices are down 0.3 percent from the same time last year.

"Lower fruit and vegetable prices led the decline as prices unwound from the seasonal winter spike," ASB economist Jane Turner said in a statement. "The decline in fruit and vegetable prices was not as large as expected - easing grocery prices due to lower prices for dairy have been a key driver for subdued food price inflation."

Turner said she expects less downward pressure on food prices in the coming year.

"We expect export prices for meat and dairy to recover over the coming year and, over time, these may result in higher retail prices," she said.

Today's figures showed grocery prices fell 1.6 percent, fruit and vegetables eased 2.2 percent and non-alcoholic beverages decreased 0.5 percent.

The fall in fruit and vegetable was led by a 32 percent decrease in capsicum prices to $15.05 kilogram. Cucumber prices fell 33 percent and strawberries declined 20 percent.

Broccoli prices bucked the trend rising 36 percent last month, caused by an early spring shortage, pumpkin rose 62 percent and tomatoes gained 69 percent to $12.26 per kilogram.

Meat, poultry and fish prices and restaurant meals and ready-to-go bucked the trend rising 0.2 percent. The rise was led by a 6 percent increase in the price of porterhouse/sirloin beef steak and a 5 percent gain in chicken pieces.

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