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NZ producers’ prices fall in fourth quarter on lower electricity demand

New Zealand producers' input and output prices fell in the fourth quarter, driven by lower electricity prices as demand softened during warmer summer weather and lake levels remained high.

Producer output prices, which measures the prices received by New Zealand producers, fell 0.4 percent in the final three months of 2013, according to Statistics New Zealand. Input prices, representing the prices of goods and services used by New Zealand producers, fell 0.7 percent in the quarter.

The output price index for electricity and gas supply fell 8.7 percent in the quarter, as prices for generated electricity fell with lower summer demand and high lake levels, consistent with a decline in the electricity and gas supply output price index for December quarters since 2006. The input price fell 9.8 percent, the fastest pace of decline since the September 2012 quarter, due to lower electricity generation prices and electricity spot-market conditions, the government statistician said.

"Lower electricity prices, influenced by lower demand in summer months and higher lake levels, contributed to both the lower input and output PPIs in the latest quarter," prices manager Chris Pike said.

The output prices for dairy product manufacturing fell 0.2 percent following gains of 14 percent in each of the two previous quarters, as manufacturers received lower export prices for butter and cheese.

The dairy cattle farming output price index was unchanged in the December quarter after reaching a record in the September quarter, as the forecast farm-gate milk price for the 2013/14 season was unchanged from the previous quarter.

Meat and meat product manufacturing input prices rose 1.9 percent due to higher prices for prime sheep and lamb.

The price index for export logs rose 4.3 percent in the quarter due to higher overseas demand, up 23 percent for the year, the highest annual increase in three years. The price index for domestic logs rose 2.2 percent in the quarter, reflecting higher demand associated with more new house consents.

(BusinessDesk)

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