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NZ food prices fall 0.5% in February

NZ food prices fall 0.5% in February on cheaper beef and chicken

By Rebecca Howard

March 13 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand food prices fell 0.5 percent in February on cheaper beef, chicken and grocery food prices.

Beef prices fell 4.4 percent versus January, while chicken prices fell 3.4 percent, Statistics New Zealand said. The average price for cheapest available chicken breast was $12.83 a kilo, down from $13.94. Grocery food prices also fell 0.7 percent on the month, with lower prices for chocolate.

The statistics agency also said that fruit and vegetable prices fell 0.9 percent versus January after months of very high prices. However, it noted that despite the falls in fruit and vegetable prices this month, some vegetables, such as lettuce, broccoli, and cauliflower, had large price rises due to adverse weather conditions.

Lettuce prices rose 32 percent in the month to February 2018, the largest monthly rise for a February since 2013.

“In recent weeks, a combination of humid weather and cyclone Gita have affected some crops,” consumer prices manager Geoffrey Wong said. “As this occurred towards the end of February, we may continue to see higher prices in March.”

After seasonal adjustments, monthly food prices were unchanged.

On the year, a decline in fruit and vegetable prices offset increases in all other food groups, with an overall annual increase in food prices of 0.1 percent.

It was around this time last year that we were seeing the effects of a poor summer season,” consumer prices manager Geoffrey Wong said.

Vegetable prices decreased 4.7 percent in the year, with lower prices for tomatoes, carrots, and onions. Apples were the leading contributor to the annual decrease in fruit prices, down 27 percent from the same time last year.

The food price index accounts for about 19 percent of the consumers price index, which is the Reserve Bank's mandated inflation target when setting interest rates.



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