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Fresh Vegetables Drive Food Prices Up

Food Price Index: June 2000

Fresh Vegetables Drive Food Prices Up

Food prices in June 2000 were 1.2 per cent higher than in May 2000, according to latest figures from Statistics New Zealand. The fruit and vegetables subgroup made the most significant contribution to this month's increase, mainly due to rising prices for fresh vegetables. Each of the remaining subgroups also made an upward contribution to the overall increase.

On an annual basis, food prices in June 2000 are 1.7 per cent higher than in June 1999.

The fruit and vegetables subgroup rose by 8.0 per cent in June 2000. This increase was mainly due to price rises in fresh vegetables. Recent weather conditions in both Australia and New Zealand have placed pressure on the New Zealand domestic supply of fruit and vegetables. Tomatoes, which made the most significant downward contribution to the May 2000 month, made the most significant item increase in June 2000. Other big increases this month included zucchini, cauliflower and broccoli. Prices for fruit and vegetables rose in both the North and South Islands in June, with the North Island recording an increase of 7.5 per cent and the South Island rising by 9.6 per cent. The fruit and vegetables subgroup is now 1.0 per cent higher than a year ago.

Grocery food prices made the next most significant upward contribution to the June 2000 Food Price Index. Overall this subgroup rose by 0.2 per cent and is now 1.0 per cent higher than a year ago. Higher prices for chocolates and frozen or chilled meat pies were mainly responsible for pushing up this subgroup. Decreases in the price of soft drinks and ice cream partially offset these rises.

The meat, fish and poultry subgroup recorded an increase of 0.7 per cent in June 2000 after recording an increase of 1.6 per cent in May 2000. Price rises for beef mince, fresh chicken pieces and lamb were the main contributors to this month's increase. Annually, meat, fish and poultry prices were 4.6 per cent higher in June 2000 than in June 1999. Rising prices in the year to June were buoyed by stronger export prices for beef and lamb and the weaker New Zealand dollar.

On a regional basis, 14 of the 15 regional centres recorded increases in June 2000. The largest increases were recorded in Auckland and Wanganui, both increasing by 1.9 per cent. Wellington was the only region to remain unchanged in June 2000. Food prices rose by 1.3 per cent in the North Island and 1.1 per cent in the South Island.

Ian Ewing DEPUTY GOVERNMENT STATISTICIAN END

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