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Food Price Index - January 2002

Data Flash (New Zealand)

Key points

The food price index rose a 1.5% mom rise in January (the market expectation was for a 0.8% rise).

Nonetheless, the annual rate of food price inflation declined from 5.8% in December to 5.6% in January.

The overall result was driven by a sharper than expected rise in fresh fruit and vegetable prices (+10.1% mom). A significant rise had been expected as a result of poor weather prior to Christmas.

Excluding fresh produce, food prices rose 0.6% mom. Meat prices appear to have stabilised, rising just 0.2% mom. However, general grocery prices rose 0.7% mom (the proportion of items moved off special was greater than the proportion moving on special) while restaurant and ready-to-eat food prices rose 0.5% mom.


Our preliminary forecast for the Q1 CPI is +0.7% qoq (the RBNZ forecast 0.6% qoq in its November MPS). This result would see the annual inflation rate rise from 1.8% to 2.7% (this reflects the dropping out of the low Q1 2001 result - a fall of -0.2% qoq - from the annual calculation).

Darren Gibbs, Senior Economist

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