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Food Prices Fall in August

Food Price Index - August 1999

The Food Price Index fell by 0.6 per cent in the August 1999 month, said Deputy Government Statistician Ian Ewing. This follows an increase of 0.5 per cent in July and falls of 0.7 and 0.4 per cent in June and May 1999.

Compared with a year earlier, food prices were 0.6 per cent lower in August. This is the first annual decrease since the February 1996 month when an annual decrease of 0.1 percent was recorded.

Despite monthly fluctuations reflecting unseasonal shortages or surpluses and retail discounting, food prices have remained relatively stable overall for the last 12 months.
Grocery food, soft drinks and confectionery, and to a lesser extent, fruit and vegetables contributed significantly to the decrease this month. Decreases in the price of bread and bread rolls, fruit juice, and pies and pizza all contributed significantly to the 0.9 per cent fall in grocery food, soft drinks and confectionery prices.

Overall fruit and vegetable prices decreased by 2.5 per cent. Lettuce fell in price because of milder growing conditions and increased volumes. Among the other main contributors to the August 1999 fall, were cheaper nectarines due to large volumes of imports, and cheaper cucumbers. Significant price increases were recorded for tomatoes.

Meat, fish and poultry prices increased by 1.3 per cent in August, after recording no change in the July 1999 month. Price increases for fresh and frozen poultry and beef mince were the main contributors.

Restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food prices, while remaining unchanged from July 1999, were 1.5 per cent higher than in August 1998.


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