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Food Prices Fall in May

Food Price Index: May 2002

Food prices fell 0.8 percent in May 2002, following a small change (up 0.1 percent) in April 2002, according to latest figures released by Statistics New Zealand. Price decreases were recorded for fruit and vegetables, grocery food, and meat, fish and poultry. This is the largest monthly decrease in food prices since February 2000, when a fall of 1.1 percent was recorded.

Fruit and vegetable prices fell by 2.4 percent in May 2002, making the most significant downward contribution to the overall change in food prices. After adjusting for normal seasonal change, significant decreases were recorded for tomatoes (down 10.9 percent), potatoes (down 5.8 percent) and capsicums (down 17.9 percent). Carrots recorded the most significant upward movement in May, with a rise of 11.4 percent.

Grocery food, soft drinks and confectionery prices fell 0.6 percent in May 2002, following a decrease of 0.4 percent in April 2002. Lower grocery food prices in May were driven by significant falls in the prices of boxed chocolates (down 14.4 percent) and potato crisps (down 6.7 percent). These decreases were partly offset by price rises for soft drinks (up 4.2 percent).

Meat, fish and poultry prices fell by 1.4 percent in May 2002. In the past six months, the meat, fish and poultry subgroup recorded a decrease of 0.9 percent. The most significant downward contributions in May 2002 came from lower prices for beef (down 2.3 percent) and poultry (down 3.4 percent). The most significant upward contribution came from higher prices for smallgoods and prepared meats, which rose by 0.8 percent.

Restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food prices rose 0.3 percent in May 2002. This follows an increase of 0.4 percent in April 2002. The increase in May was mainly due to higher ready-to-eat food prices, which rose by 0.4 percent.

From May 2001 to May 2002, food prices rose 4.0 percent. This is the >lowest annual increase since January 2001, when food prices also rose by 4.0 percent from the previous year. Grocery food, soft drinks and confectionery prices rose 3.2 percent in the year to May 2002, and meat, fish and poultry prices rose 7.5 percent over the same period. Restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food prices rose 4.3 percent, and fruit and vegetable prices increased 2.0 percent.

Brian Pink
Government Statistician

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