Monday 15th January 2018
|Text too small?|
New Zealand food prices eased on the month in December as fresh produce came into season but were still higher on the year as dairy, fruit and vegetable prices continued to pressure people's wallets.
The food price index fell 0.2 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis versus the prior month, Statistics New Zealand said. Fruit and vegetables cost 1.6 percent less than they did in November, with fruit prices down 1.9 percent and vegetables down 1.3 percent. Grocery foods fell 0.8 percent, with the largest fall in confectionary, nuts and snacks.
In actual terms, food prices fell 0.8 percent from November.
Stats NZ said butter, chocolate bars and wholemeal bread prices fell in December. After four successive monthly rises, butter prices dropped 4.9 percent in December 2017 to an average of $5.46 for the cheapest available 500g block. This compared with the previous month when they hit a record high of $5.74. Butter prices had been falling at international dairy auctions since October.
"Specials on grocery items drove food prices down this month, but the higher prices for dairy, fruit, and vegetables throughout the year meant consumers were still facing 2.3 percent higher food prices than last December,” prices manager Matthew Haigh said.
Annual food prices rose 2.3 percent, with fruit and vegetable prices lifting 4.5 percent. Higher vegetable prices, up 4.3 percent, were influenced by increases in pumpkin, kumara, and potato prices. Pumpkin prices continued to increase, up 231 percent versus the same month a year earlier, to its highest ever level. Fruit prices rose 4.8 percent, with avocado prices up 88 percent versus the same month a year earlier. The average price for a 200g avocado was $2.31 in December 2017, compared with $1.23 in December 2016.
Meat, poultry, and fish prices increased 0.9 percent in the year to December 2017, with a 17 percent lift in lamb prices partly offset by cheaper beef and veal, which were down 1.8 percent.
Grocery food prices increased 2 percent, with higher prices for fresh milk, butter, ice cream, and snack foods. Restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food prices increased 2.5 percent versus December 2016 while non-alcoholic beverage prices lifted 2.1 percent.
Food prices account for about 19 percent of the consumers price index, which is the Reserve Bank's mandated inflation target when setting interest rates. The higher annual food prices and a recovery in oil prices has led to some signs of inflationary pressure, although housing-related costs are still the dominant contributor to higher consumer prices. However, while the central bank lifted its forecast inflation at its November monetary policy review it still does not expect to begin lifting rates until June 2019 at the earliest.
No comments yet
MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares hit record amidst rebalancing, Comvita and Sky TV gain while Pushpay, A2 drop
NZ dollar heads for 0.5% weekly decline as risk aversion rises
RBNZ's Spencer tipped to stand pat in final review next week, repeat same message
Lyttelton Port rejects union claims as strike planned for next week
Storm CEO Deborah Caldwell buys women's clothing chain from Hallenstein
Govt to invest $5 mln in Northland wharves through regional fund
Veritas shareholders vote in favour of Mad Butcher sale
Failed fashion chain Andrea Moore & Co 'significantly overstated' value of inventory by $3.3M
UPDATE: NZ dairy manufacturer plans to list on ASX to raise up to A$20M for expansion
Bay of Islands Airport terminal upgrade to get $1.7M from govt's provincial growth fund