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Higher food prices push up CPI

Embargoed until 10:45am – 15 April 2008

Higher food prices push up CPI

The Consumers Price Index (CPI) increased 0.7 percent in the March 2008 quarter, Statistics New Zealand said today. Food prices made the most significant upward contribution to the CPI this quarter.

Food prices increased 1.8 percent in the March 2008 quarter, with the main contribution coming from increases in grocery food prices (up 3.6 percent). Within the grocery food subgroup the most significant contributions came from cheese, bread, and butter.

Prices for the housing and household utilities group were up 1.0 percent in the March 2008 quarter, mainly due to price increases for actual rentals for housing (up 1.2 percent), purchase of new housing (up 0.9 percent) and electricity (up 0.8 percent).

The transport group recorded an overall increase of 0.8 percent. The increase in the transport group was mainly due to price increases for petrol (up 4.0 percent), which was mostly offset by lower prices for international air transport (down 8.6 percent).

The recreation and culture group made a downward contribution to the CPI. Recreation and culture prices recorded an overall decrease of 1.2 percent, with the main contribution coming from lower prices for audio visual and computing equipment (down 3.6 percent) and overseas package holidays (down 5.7 percent).

For the year to the March 2008 quarter, the CPI increased 3.4 percent, following a rise of 3.2 percent for the year to the December 2007 quarter. Higher prices for petrol (up 20.5 percent) made the most significant individual contribution to the increase in the CPI. If petrol prices had remained constant from the March 2007 quarter, the CPI would have risen 2.5 percent for the year to the March 2008 quarter.

Geoff Bascand
Government Statistician
15 April 2008


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