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Food Prices Fall in February - Stats NZ

Food Price Index: February 2000

Food prices in February 2000 were 1.1 per cent lower than in January 2000 according to latest figures from Statistics New Zealand. Fruit and vegetable prices fell as did grocery food prices, reflecting short-term supply factors and 'specialling' by retailers. In the longer term, food prices have been relatively stable and have risen only 0.3 per cent since August 1998.

On an annual basis, food prices in February 2000 were 1.1 per cent lower than in February 1999.

Tomato price falls alone contributed three-quarters of the overall February 2000 Food Price Index movement. This follows the significant increase in tomato prices in January 2000 which was the major reason for the Food Price Index increasing in that month.

Fruit and vegetable prices fell by 7.8 per cent in February 2000 and are 14.2 per cent lower than they were a year earlier. In February 2000, fresh vegetable prices fell 15.9 per cent. Fresh fruit prices increased by 0.2 per cent having increased by the same amount in January 2000. Fruit and vegetable prices in the North Island decreased by 8.0 per cent and in the South Island they fell by 7.2 per cent. Although tomatoes were the main contributor, potatoes, citrus fruit, lettuce and pumpkin also contributed to the overall fall in fruit and vegetable prices in February 2000.

The next most significant downward contribution to the Food Price Index in February 2000 came from the grocery food, soft drinks and confectionery subgroup. Grocery food prices fell by 0.5 per cent in February following an increase of 1.4 per cent in January 2000. Price decreases for boxed chocolates, soft drinks, fruit juice, spaghetti, cheese, milk and margarine all contributed to the decrease in February 2000. Overall, grocery food prices were 0.1 percent higher in February 2000 than in February 1999.

Price increases for pork, lamb, beef and veal, poultry and fish all contributed to a rise of 1.4 per cent in the meat, fish and poultry subgroup in February 2000. Compared with a year earlier, meat, fish and poultry prices are 3.7 per cent higher than in February 1999.

Restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food had a small increase of 0.1 per cent in February 2000. This subgroup is now 1.7 per cent higher than in February 1999.

On a regional basis, 13 of the 15 centres recorded decreases in food prices in February 2000. Wellington, after recording the largest increase in January 2000, recorded the largest decrease in February.

Ian Ewing DEPUTY GOVERNMENT STATISTICIAN END There is a companion Hot Off The Press information release published - Food Price Index February 2000

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