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Cheaper Veges Keep Price Rise Low

Food Price Index: July 2000

Cheaper Veges Keep Price Rise Low


Food prices in July were 0.2 per cent higher than in June 2000 according to Statistics New Zealand. The highest rise in more than 10 years for restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food was partly offset by fresh vegetable prices decreasing 6.5 per cent. Excluding fresh fruit and vegetables, food prices rose 0.5 per cent in July.

On an annual basis, food prices in July 2000 are 1.4 per cent higher than in July 1999.

The restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food subgroup rose by 0.7 per cent in July 2000, the largest monthly rise since November 1989. While 60 per cent of the items within this subgroup increased in price in July, none rose by more than 2.5 per cent. Price rises included restaurant meals, poured soft drinks, hot pizzas, hamburgers and fish and chips.

Higher prices for potato crisps and frozen or chilled meat pies helped push grocery food prices up 0.2 per cent. Grocery food prices are now at the same level they were in July 1999, suggesting that competitive pressures in the grocery foods industry have, to date, offset the effects of higher petrol prices and the lower New Zealand dollar.

Meat, fish and poultry prices recorded an increase of 0.6 per cent in July 2000 after increasing by 0.7 per cent in June 2000. Price rises for steak and corned silverside were the main contributors to this month's increase. Annually, meat, fish and poultry prices were 5.2 per cent higher in July 2000 than in July 1999. Domestic prices in the year to July have been buoyed by strengthening export beef prices caused in part by the weaker New Zealand dollar.

The fruit and vegetables subgroup fell by 1.7 per cent in the July month, mainly due to falling prices for fresh vegetables. Fresh vegetables fell 6.5 per cent after rising 16.5 per cent in June 2000 when poor weather conditions caused a sharp increase. The most significant fresh vegetable item contribution to the Food Price Index in July was the decrease in seasonally adjusted prices for tomatoes.

Ian Ewing DEPUTY GOVERNMENT STATISTICIAN

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