Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 


NZ consumer prices rise 0.3% in 1Q, missing estimates

NZ consumer prices rise 0.3% in first quarter on tobacco tax hike, more expensive housing

By Paul McBeth

April 16 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand consumer prices rose less than expected in the first quarter as a hike in tobacco taxes and more expensive housing were offset by cheaper international holidays and in-season vegetables. The kiwi dollar dropped on the data.

The consumers price index rose 0.3 percent in the three months ended March 31, accelerating from a quarterly rate of 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013, according to Statistics New Zealand. That was slower than the 0.5 percent pace predicted by the Reserve Bank and economists. The annual pace of inflation slowed to 1.5 percent from 1.6 percent in calendar 2013, also below expectations.

The New Zealand dollar fell to 86.07 US cents from 86.36 cents immediately before the figures were released and the trade-weighted index fell to 79.93 from 80.18 as traders pondered whether a milder track of inflation would temper the central bank’s interest rate tightening cycle.

The increase in first-quarter inflation was driven by a 10 percent lift in the price of cigarettes and tobacco, stemming from the government’s annual hike in the excise tax. Stripping out tobacco, CPI was flat in the quarter.

International air travel prices fell 10 percent in the quarter, as a stronger New Zealand dollar made overseas holidays more attractive amid seasonally lower airfares, and the price of vegetables declined 5.8 percent.

A 0.7 percent increase in prices for housing and household utilities contributed to the quarterly increase, with new housing prices up 1.2 percent, rentals increasing 0.6 percent, and a 1.5 percent rise in property maintenance services. Gas prices rose 3.3 percent in the quarter, and dwelling insurance climbed 6 percent.

The Reserve Bank is closely watching the pace of inflation, having flagged increased price pressures as a reason behind its shift to tighter monetary policy this year. Governor Graeme Wheeler hiked the benchmark rate 25 basis points to 2.75 percent last month and is expected to lift the official cash rate another quarter-point next week.

Housing is a key concern for the central bank with increased building activity to lift supply in Auckland and the rebuild of Christchurch.

Housing and household utilities underpinned the annual lift in the inflation rate, with new housing prices up 5.1 percent, rentals up 2 percent, and property maintenance services increasing 5.1 percent. Dwelling insurance prices were up 21 percent in the year.

Energy prices rose 2.7 percent in the year, with a 2.9 percent increase in electricity prices and a 2.1 percent lift in gas prices.

That helped drive the annual pace of non-tradable inflation to 3 percent, the fastest since September 2011 when the impact of the government’s hike in goods and services tax was still working through the data. Non-tradable inflation rose at a quarterly pace of 1.1 percent.

Tradable inflation, which covers goods and services facing international competition, fell 0.7 percent in the quarter for an annual decline of 0.6 percent. Tradable inflation has been shrinking on an annual basis since June 2012.

Prices for telecommunication equipment continued to fall, down 5.9 percent in the quarter, for an annual drop of 21 percent. That happened even as retailers reduced the amount of discounting to 16 percent of prices below the standard from 24 percent in the December quarter.

The price of household contents fell 0.8 percent in the quarter, with furniture and furnishings prices down 3.1 percent and the price of appliances falling 1.6 percent. On an annual basis, household contents and services price fell 0.2 percent, led by a 2.5 percent drop in the price of appliances.

Apparel prices extended their decline, down 0.7 percent in the quarter for an annual drop of 1.2 percent, with discounting of men’s and women’s clothing up in the March period.

Discounting across all retailers in the quarter was unchanged at 16 percent of below-par prices.

(BusinessDesk)

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

BusinessDesk: Weak Dairy Prices Prompt Pull Back In Fonterra Forecasts

Weak global dairy prices have prompted analysts to pull back their expectations for Fonterra Cooperative Group's payout to farmers for next season. More>>

Broadband Network: Spark Launches New, Competitive Ultra Fibre Plan Line-Up

Spark is giving customers an even more compelling reason to switch to its Ultra Fibre plans from today with the introduction of new competitive pricing for the majority of its plans (details below) and Fibre Landline (voice-over-fibre technology) for ... More>>

Employment: ANZ Proposes Casualisation In Whangarei Stores

ANZ workers in Whangarei could see their incomes drop by 20 to 40 percent if the bank’s proposal to reduce the number of full-time positions goes ahead says FIRST Union national organiser Tali Williams. More>>

Finance: BNZ Develops Specialist Tāmaki Māori Banking Team

BNZ develops specialist Tāmaki Māori Banking Team to support Māori as Auckland grows More>>

Pharmaceuticals: Commerce Commission To Consider Pharmaceuticals Merger

The Commerce Commission has received an application from Pfizer Inc. seeking clearance to acquire all of the shares in Hospira Inc. More>>

Real Estate: Housing Unaffordability Issues Spread

Surging house prices in Auckland and Queenstown last month pushed home ownership even further beyond the reach of first home buyers in the two districts, according to the AMP360 Home Loan Affordability Report for March. More>>

Statistics NZ: Annual Exports To China Dip Below Australia

The value of goods exports to Australia ($8.7 billion) surpassed those to China for the year ended March 2015, Statistics New Zealand said today. More>>

Science: Hookworm Discovery At Malaghan Institute

Professor Graham Le Gros has led a team which has stimulated both innate and memory responses to the parasite, discovering along the way the unexpected behaviour of one particular immune cell, in Hookworm, one of the world’s most devastating tropical ... More>>

Business: Provinces Urged To Make Full Use Of New Air Services

Provincial New Zealand has been urged to use new air services to Auckland or risk losing them either partially or completely. The stark warning was issued today by Far North mayor John Carter at a ceremony at Kaitaia airport to mark the final Air ... More>>

Mobile: 2degrees To Credit All Calls And SMS To Nepal

In the wake of the devastating earthquake in Nepal in the weekend, 2degrees will be crediting all calls and SMS messages made to mobiles and landlines in Nepal from Friday 24th April until midnight Wednesday 29th April. More>>

Scoop Business: Alex Swney Pleads Guilty To $2.5M Fraud Charge

Alex Swney, former chief executive of the Auckland city centre business association Heart of the City, has pleaded guilty to dishonestly using documents to obtain $2.5 million. More>>

ALSO:

Petrol Burns Prices: Second Consecutive Quarterly Fall For CPI

The consumers price index (CPI) fell 0.3 percent in the March 2015 quarter, following a 0.2 percent fall in the December 2014 quarter, Statistics New Zealand said today. The last time the CPI showed two consecutive quarterly falls was in the December 1998 and March 1999 quarters. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news