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CPI Annual Inflation Rises to 3.4 Percent

Embargoed until 10:45am – 19 April 2006

CPI Annual Inflation Rises to 3.4 Percent

The annual inflation rate, as measured by the Consumers Price Index (CPI), was 3.4 percent for the year to the March 2006 quarter, up from 3.2 percent for the year to the December 2005 quarter, Statistics New Zealand said today. On a quarterly basis, consumer prices increased 0.7 percent in the March 2006 quarter, following a 0.7 percent increase in the December 2005 quarter.

Significant contributions to the 3.4 percent annual increase in the CPI came from higher prices for petrol (up 23.5 percent), and the purchase and construction of new dwellings (up 5.9 percent). The annual increase for petrol is the largest recorded since the September 2000 quarter, when petrol prices increased 31.1 percent. If petrol prices had remained unchanged from the March 2005 quarter, the annual increase in the CPI would have been 2.6 percent. Similiarly, if construction prices had remained unchanged, the CPI would have increased 2.8 percent.

Major contributions to this quarter's increase came from the housing (up 0.8 percent), food (up 1.0 percent), and recreation and education (up 1.7 percent) groups. The most significant downward contribution came from the transportation group (down 0.3 percent). Within these groups, major upward contributions came from higher prices for petrol (up 5.1 percent) and the purchase and construction of new dwellings (up 1.0 percent). Partly offsetting these were lower prices for international air travel (down 12.3 percent).

Brian Pink
Government Statistician

ENDS

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