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CPI increases 0.3 percent in March quarter

CPI increases 0.3 percent in March quarter

Wednesday 16 April

The consumers price index (CPI) rose 0.3 percent in the March 2014 quarter, Statistics New Zealand said today. Higher tobacco and housing prices were partly countered by seasonally cheaper international air fares, vegetables, and package holidays.

Cigarette and tobacco prices rose 10.2 percent, following an 11.3 percent rise in excise duty in January. “The CPI without cigarettes and tobacco showed no change in the March quarter,” prices manager Chris Pike said.

Prices for housing and household utilities rose 0.7 percent, reflecting higher prices for buying newly built houses (up 1.2 percent), rentals for housing (up 0.6 percent), and property maintenance (up 1.2 percent).

International air fares fell 10 percent this quarter, following a 12 percent seasonal rise in the December 2013 quarter. This reflects seasonally lower air fares to all destinations. Vegetables (down 5.8 percent) and package holidays (down 5.9 percent) also showed seasonal price falls.

Annual change in prices

The CPI increased 1.5 percent in the year to the March 2014 quarter, following a 1.6 percent increase in the year to the December 2013 quarter.

About half of the latest annual increase came from housing and household utility prices, which increased 3.3 percent.

"The price of buying a newly built house without land increased 5.1 percent for the year. In Auckland the increase was 5.9 percent and in Canterbury it was 7.6 percent," Mr Pike said.

There were also increases for housing rentals (up 2.0 percent), property maintenance (up 4.5 percent), property rates and related services (up 4.2 percent), and household energy (up 2.7 percent).

Cigarette and tobacco prices increased 10.2 percent and insurance prices increased 5.9 percent for the year.

The main downward contribution for the year came from cheaper audio-visual and computing equipment (down 10 percent). There were also lower prices for vehicles (down 3.1 percent). The strong New Zealand dollar has had a downward influence on the retail prices of internationally traded goods, including cars and appliances.

The CPI measures the rate of price change of goods and services purchased by New Zealand households. Statistics NZ visits 3,000 shops across New Zealand to collect prices for the CPI and check product sizes and features.

For more information about these statistics:
• Visit Consumer Price Index: March 2014 quarter

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