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CPI Rises 0.6 Percent

Consumers Price Index: December 2001 quarter

The Consumers Price Index (CPI) rose by 0.6 percent in the December 2001 quarter, according to Statistics New Zealand. This follows a rise of 0.6 percent in the September quarter. The increase of 0.6 percent in the December 2001 quarter reflects higher prices for food, housing and health care, and was partly offset by lower prices for petrol.

Food prices rose 1.5 percent, driven by price rises in grocery foods (up 2.0 percent), and meat, fish and poultry (up 4.2 percent). The most significant individual item contribution to the grocery food price increase came from a 4.8 percent increase in milk prices. The increase in meat, fish and poultry prices was driven by higher beef prices (up 5.2 percent in the December quarter). The most significant downward contribution to food prices came from a decrease in fruit and vegetable prices (down 3.5 percent).

Housing prices rose by 0.5 percent in the December 2001 quarter, driven by an increase of 0.7 percent in the purchase and construction of new dwellings.

Personal and health care also made an upward contribution to the overall CPI movement in the December 2001 quarter, increasing by 1.0 percent. This increase was strongly influenced by a rise of 1.0 percent in the price of health care, driven by a rise of 2.0 percent in general practitioners' fees.

The most significant downward contribution to the CPI in the December 2001 quarter came from a fall of 0.6 percent in transportation prices. This movement was mainly due to lower prices for petrol (down 9.1 percent). This fall was partly offset by rises in prices for international air travel (up 5.9 percent) and used cars (up 1.6 percent). Petrol prices in the December 2001 quarter were 15.4 percent lower than in the December 2000 quarter.

On an annual basis, the CPI is 1.8 percent higher than a year earlier.

Brian Pink Government Statistician

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