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Transport Prices Push Up CPI

Consumers Price Index: June 2001 Quarter

The Consumers Price Index (CPI) rose by 0.9 per cent in the June 2001 quarter, according to Statistics New Zealand. This follows a fall of 0.2 per cent in the March quarter.

The increase of 0.9 per cent was strongly influenced by higher prices for petrol and international airfares. Together, these two items accounted for over half of the June quarter CPI increase.

Transport prices rose 2.9 per cent, reflecting increases in both private transport (up 2.2 per cent) and public transport (up 5.3 per cent). Private transport prices were influenced mainly by a 6.4 per cent rise in petrol prices, which have increased by 36.9 per cent over the past two years. The increase in public transport prices was driven by higher international airfares (up 7.9 per cent in the June quarter). There is a traditional seasonal demand for overseas travel at this time of the year.

Food prices also contributed strongly to the overall CPI movement in June 2001, increasing by 0.8 per cent. The most significant contribution to this movement came from a 3.9 per cent increase in milk prices. A downward contribution came from lower fruit and vegetable prices (down 2.8 per cent in the quarter). After the removal of seasonal effects, tomato and apple prices fell 18.7 per cent and 19.7 per cent, respectively.

Recreation and education prices recorded an increase of 0.7 per cent and were strongly influenced by a 17.6 per cent rise in the price of stationery. Stationery prices traditionally rise in this quarter after the customary 'back to school specials' in the March quarter. Housing prices rose 0.2 per cent (mainly due to increased dwelling insurance), personal and health care was up 0.7 per cent (mainly due to higher personal care and medical service costs), apparel up 0.9 per cent (both clothing and footwear), tobacco and alcohol rose 0.3 per cent and household operation prices recorded an increase of 0.1 per cent. Credit services prices fell, by 5.0 per cent, mainly due to a lowering of loan application fees.

On an annual basis, the CPI is 3.2 per cent higher than a year ago. This is the seventh consecutive annual increase in the index.

Brian Pink Government Statistician

END


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