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Food Prices Rise 1.8 Per Cent

Food Price Index: September 2001

Food Prices Rise 1.8 Per Cent

Food prices were 1.8 per cent higher in September than in August 2001 according to latest figures from Statistics New Zealand. This follows an increase of 0.5 per cent in August and 0.3 per cent in July.

The latest monthly increase in the Food Price Index is the largest since January 2000, when the index rose 2.4 per cent. The January 2000 increase was strongly influenced by a 28.7 per cent rise in fresh vegetable prices.

Grocery food, soft drinks and confectionery prices rose by 1.8 per cent and contributed 52 per cent of the overall Food Price Index movement in September 2001. The most significant upward contribution to grocery prices, and to the total Food Price Index, came from higher milk prices, which rose by 7.0 per cent.

In September 2001, meat, fish and poultry prices rose 2.8 per cent after rising 2.2 per cent in August 2001. Beef prices made the most significant upward contribution in this subgroup, closely followed by smallgoods and prepared meats.

Fruit and vegetable prices rose 1.9 per cent in September 2001 (after removing normal seasonal change) following a rise of 0.9 per cent in August 2001. Tomato prices rose significantly in September (up 13.4 per cent) while large price falls occurred for cauliflower (down 21.0 per cent) and cabbages (down 14.3 per cent).

Restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food prices rose by 0.4 per cent in September following increases of 0.3 per cent in August and 0.5 per cent in July 2001.

From September 2000 to September 2001, food prices rose by 7.8 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 September. The largest annual increase was recorded for fruit and vegetables which rose 16.6 per cent, followed by meat, fish and poultry which recorded an increase of 13.1 per cent. Grocery food, soft drinks and confectionery prices rose 5.5 per cent in the year to September, and restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food prices rose 3.9 per cent over the same period.

Brian Pink Government Statistician


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