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Food Price Index: December 1999

Food Price Index: December 1999

December Food Prices Fall Figures released today by Statistics New Zealand show that food prices in December were 0.6 per cent lower than in November 1999. Compared with a year earlier food prices in December were 0.5 per cent lower, said Deputy Government Statistician Ian Ewing.

Overall, food prices have remained flat since August 1998.

Major contributors driving down the December price level were potatoes, fresh and frozen poultry, and frozen or chilled meat pies. Significant monthly price increases were recorded for tomatoes, lettuce, cabbage and kiwifruit.

Grocery food prices fell by 1.0 per cent in December 1999. This follows a 0.7 per cent price rise from October to November 1999. Lower prices for frozen or chilled meat pies, bread and bread rolls, sweets and potato crisps were responsible for pushing down this subgroup's prices. Compared with a year earlier, grocery food prices were 0.3 per cent lower in December 1999.

Prices for fresh and frozen poultry decreased by 5.9 per cent in December, mainly due to specials. Price decreases for chops also contributed significantly to the 1.8 per cent overall fall in meat, fish and poultry prices in December. Meat, fish and poultry prices are, however, 1.9 per cent higher than in December 1998.

Fruit and vegetable prices rose by 1.5 per cent in December. This follows a 0.1 per cent decrease in November 1999 and is the first increase in this subgroup after seven consecutive decreases which commenced in May 1999. Contributors to December's 2.2 per cent increase in fresh fruit and vegetables were price rises for tomatoes, lettuce, cabbage, kiwifruit and broccoli. The most significant price decreases to partially offset these rises were for potatoes, cucumbers and zucchini.

On a regional basis, eight out of the 15 centres recorded decreases in food prices in December 1999. Napier-Hastings prices fell by 1.9 per cent, the largest decrease this month, while Nelson and Timaru both recorded the largest increase, rising by 0.8 per cent.


Ian Ewing
DEPUTY GOVERNMENT STATISTICIAN
END

There is a companion Hot Off The Press information release published - Food Price Index December 1999.

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