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Food Prices Rise 0.5 Per Cent

Food Price Index: February 2001

Food prices rose 0.5 per cent between January and February 2001, and are 5.7 per cent higher than in February 2000, according to Statistics New Zealand. This latest annual increase is the ninth in a row and the largest since July 1990, when an increase of 6.0 per cent was recorded.

The most significant item contributions to the February 2001 increase came from rises in the seasonally adjusted prices of apples and tomatoes. The most significant downward item contribution came from potatoes.

Fruit and vegetables (after removing normal seasonal change for fresh produce) rose in price by 4.0 per cent, making the most significant contribution to the movement of the Food Price Index in February 2001. This was mainly due to an 8.8 per cent rise in the price of fresh fruit. Although fruit and vegetable prices are frequently volatile on a month to month basis, an increase has occurred in each of the past five months.

The meat, fish and poultry subgroup rose by 0.7 per cent, making the next most significant contribution to the movement of the Food Price Index in February 2001. For nine out of the last ten months, this subgroup has shown price increases. In the year to February 2001, the meat, fish and poultry subgroup rose by 8.2 per cent. Prices have now risen continuously on an annual basis for nearly three years.

The grocery food subgroup decreased by 0.5 per cent and was the only subgroup to fall in the month of February. This is the first monthly decrease in grocery food prices since October 2000, partly as a result of items going on special outnumbering those going off special. This month, the most significant contribution to the subgroup decrease was a fall in the price of boxed chocolates influenced by Valentine's Day specials. Other significant decreases came from bread, packets of sweets and potato crisps.

Brian Pink

GOVERNMENT STATISTICIAN

END


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