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Food Prices Rise 0.5 Per Cent

Food Price Index: August 2001

Food Prices Rise 0.5 Per Cent

Food prices were 0.5 per cent higher in August than in July 2001 according to latest figures from Statistics New Zealand. This follows an increase of 0.3 per cent in July. The latest increase was mainly due to higher prices for meat, fish and poultry, and for fruit and vegetables. These rises were partially offset by a small fall in grocery food prices.

In August 2001, meat, fish and poultry prices rose 2.2 per cent and made the most significant contribution to the overall Food Price Index movement. Beef prices rose 3.3 per cent and contributed over 50 per cent of the increase within the meat, fish and poultry subgroup in August, reflecting continued strong export beef prices.

Fruit and vegetable prices rose 0.9 per cent in August 2001 (after removing normal seasonal change) and were driven by higher prices for fresh fruit. Fruit and vegetable prices have shown a monthly pattern of alternating increases and decreases since February 2001. The most significant item contributions to the rise in the overall Food Price Index in August came from potatoes (up 15.9 per cent from July) and oranges (up 12.9 per cent).

Restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food prices rose by 0.3 per cent in August following increases of 0.5 per cent in July and 0.2 per cent in June 2001.

Grocery food, soft drinks and confectionery prices fell by 0.1 per cent in August 2001, following a rise of 0.7 percent in July and a fall of 0.4 per cent in June 2001. The most significant downward contributions to this subgroup came from lower prices for frozen and chilled meat pies, and soft drinks.

>From August 2000 to August 2001, food prices rose by 6.3 per cent. This increase is the largest annual increase since June 1990, when a rise of 10.0 per cent was recorded. However, this comparison should be made with caution, as the June 1990 annual increase was influenced by the rise in GST in July 1989. All of the subgroups recorded increases for the year to August. The largest annual increase was recorded for fruit and vegetables which rose 12.5 per cent, followed by meat, fish and poultry which recorded an increase of 11.9 per cent. Grocery food, soft drinks and confectionery prices rose 4.2 per cent in the year to August, and restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food prices rose 3.7 per cent over the same period.

Brian Pink Government Statistician END

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