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Consumer Prices Up 0.9 Percent

Consumer Prices Up 0.9 Percent

The Consumers Price Index (CPI) increased by 0.9 percent in the December 2004 quarter, according to Statistics New Zealand. International air travel made the most significant upward contribution to the increase, which also reflects higher prices for construction and electricity.

These increases were partly offset by lower prices for fresh vegetables and petrol. Transportation prices increased by 1.8 percent in the December 2004 quarter, mainly due to price rises for international air travel (up 10.1 percent). The most significant downward contribution came from petrol, with prices falling 0.6 percent.

Housing prices rose 1.1 percent in the quarter, driven by increases in the purchase and construction of new dwellings (up 1.7 percent). The rising cost of construction materials was widely reported by surveyed builders as a contributing factor to this increase.

Household operation costs rose 1.0 percent in the quarter. A 4.1 percent rise in electricity prices was partly offset by a 6.6 percent fall in prices for television and video equipment.

Prices for food increased by 0.6 percent in the quarter, influenced by higher beef prices (up 7.3 percent). This was partly offset by lower prices for fresh vegetables (down 4.8 percent).

Over the 12 months to the December 2004 quarter, the CPI rose 2.7 percent.

Significant upward contributions to the annual change came from purchase and construction of new dwellings (up 7.3 percent) and petrol (up 13.5 percent). Significant downward contributions were made by used cars (down 4.3 percent), and household appliances and equipment (down 5.9 percent).

In the December 2004 quarter, the non-tradable component (up 1.1 percent) made the largest contribution to the CPI all groups movement. The tradable component increased by 0.7 percent in the quarter.

Brian Pink

Government Statistician

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