Food prices slide 0.8% in November, led by cheaper vegetables

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New Zealand food prices fell for the third straight month in November, driven by seasonally low prices for vegetables such as tomatoes, broccoli and lettuce. Meat prices also fell.

The food price index fell 0.8 percent last month, for an annual decline of 0.6 percent, Statistics New Zealand says. Prices of vegetables dropped 11 percent, while fruit rose by 5.4 percent on seasonal increases for apples, nectarines and potatoes.

Prices of fruit and vegetables are up 7.9 percent in the year, as kumara surged 98 percent to the highest level since the survey began in 1999. Avocadoes were up 92 percent, pumpkin gained 108 percent, while apples rose by about a fifth in the year and tomatoes gained 14 percent.

Grocery prices fell 0.2 percent in the month for a 3.6 percent annual decline. In the year, the price of fresh milk fell 9.6 percent, butter declined 26 percent and cheddar cheese fell 12 percent.

The price of fresh milk was at its lowest since December 2009 and is 9.7 percent below its February 2011 peak.

Meat, poultry and fish prices fell 1.6 percent in the month, led by an 11 percent drop for chicken pieces and a 6.6 percent decline for lamb. Non-alcoholic beverage prices rose 0.4 percent and restaurant and ready-to-eat food rose 0.3 percent.


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