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Food Prices Rise 1.6 Per Cent

Food Price Index: January 2001

Food prices rose 1.6 per cent between December 2000 and January 2001 and are 4.0 per cent higher than in January 2000, according to Statistics New Zealand. The increase in January 2001 is the largest monthly movement since January last year. There has not been a monthly decrease in the Food Price Index since April 2000, the longest period without a fall since November 1985.

The most significant item contributions to the January 2001 increase came from rises in the prices of potatoes, broccoli and bread.

The grocery food subgroup increased by 1.6 per cent in the month of January. This is the largest monthly rise in grocery food prices since July 1989. In the January 2001 month price rises were more widespread than in the December 2000 month.

Fruit and vegetables (after removing normal seasonal change for fresh produce) rose in price by 5.5 per cent, making the next most significant contribution to the movement of the Food Price Index in January 2001. This was mainly due to an 8.5 per cent rise in the price of fresh vegetables and a 4.1 per cent rise in the price of fresh fruit. Although fruit and vegetable prices are frequently volatile on a month to month basis, increases have occurred in each of the past four months.

Of the other subgroups, the restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food and the meat, fish and poultry subgroups both rose by 0.4 per cent. Lamb prices increased by 3.7 per cent, while beef prices remained unchanged from December 2000. These rises were partially offset by a 2.5 per cent fall in the price of poultry.

Brian Pink GOVERNMENT STATISTICIAN

END


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