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CPI Rises 0.5 Percent

CPI Rises 0.5 Percent

The Consumers Price Index (CPI) rose by 0.5 percent in the September 2002 quarter, according to Statistics New Zealand. This follows an increase of 1.0 percent in the June 2002 quarter. The increase of 0.5 percent in the September 2002 quarter reflects higher prices for housing, household operation, alcoholic drinks and health care. These rises have been partly offset by lower prices for transportation.

Housing prices rose by 0.9 percent in the September 2002 quarter, driven by increases in the purchase and construction of new dwellings (0.6 percent), local authority rates (2.5 percent) and rents (0.8 percent). The annual round of rates changes are normally reflected in the September and December quarters.

Household operation prices rose by 0.8 percent in the September 2002 quarter, mainly due to an increase of 1.5 percent in electricity prices. The latest rise in electricity prices follows an increase of 1.9 percent in the June 2002 quarter. Electricity prices are now 6.1 percent higher than a year ago, due to widespread tariff increases.

Tobacco and alcohol prices rose by 1.3 percent in the September 2002 quarter, mainly driven by the increase in excise duty on alcohol on 1 June 2002.

Personal and health care prices increased by 1.3 percent in the September 2002 quarter, mainly driven by higher prices for medical specialist services and medical insurance.

The 0.8 percent fall in transportation prices made the most significant downward contribution to the CPI this quarter. The fall was driven by lower prices for used cars (down 2.7 percent), petrol (down 2.4 percent) and international air travel (down 1.9 percent).

On an annual basis, the CPI is 2.6 percent higher than a year earlier.

Brian Pink Government Statistician

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