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

 

ETS Review: Modelling Documents Released

Three technical documents are being released to help New Zealanders engage with the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) review, Climate Change Minister Paula Bennett says. More>>

ALSO:

Northland: Govt Plan Targets Transport, Web, Maori Assets

The government has released a 10-year plan to attract investors and lift economic growth in Northland, a region that perennially underperforms the rest of the country even while being endowed with natural beauty, productive land, minerals, a potential workforce, scope for manufacturing, forestry and aquaculture, and proximity to Auckland. More>>

ALSO:

Statistics: Unemployment Rate Falls To 5.3 Percent

The unemployment rate fell to 5.3 percent in the December 2015 quarter (from 6.0 percent), Statistics New Zealand said today. This is the lowest unemployment rate since March 2009. There were 16,000 fewer people unemployed than in the September ... More>>

ALSO:

Employment: Labour Urges Talley’s To End AFFCO Lockout

Labour has urged Talley’s to resolve the ongoing industrial dispute with AFFCO workers which is having a severe effect on the employees, their families and their communities, Labour’s Workplace Relations spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. More>>

ALSO:

Three Kings: Govt To Oppose Appeal Blocking $1.2B Auckland Housing Plan

Environment Minister Nick Smith and Housing New Zealand have joined legal proceedings in support of Auckland Council and Fletcher Building opposing a bid by community groups to only allow low-rise housing in a $1.2 billion housing redevelopment on the disused site of the Three Kings quarry. More>>

ALSO:

Transport: Jetstar Expands Regional Network With Three New Routes

More New Zealanders than ever before will have access to Jetstar’s affordable flights when new services take off today from Auckland to New Plymouth and Palmerston North, and Nelson to Wellington. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news