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Food prices up 0.9% in January

Fruit and vegetables led gains in January, up 8.5%.

Jonathan Underhill
Tue, 14 Feb 2017

Food prices rose in January, as apples surged to a record high, leading gains in fruit and vegetables.

Food prices rose 0.9%, seasonally adjusted, in January from December, and gained 1.4% from January 2016, Statistics NZ said. On an unadjusted basis, food prices climbed 2.8% in the latest month.

Fruit and vegetables led gains in both the month and the year, up 8.5% (unadjusted) and 3.1% respectively. Apples, which have been in short supply in supermarkets, were an average $5.04 a kilogram in January, from $3.60/kg in December, reaching their highest since the series began. Fruit prices jumped 12%, or 2.9% seasonally adjusted, while vegetables gained 5.9%, or 1.4% seasonally adjusted, with gains in potatoes, broccoli and carrots.

The food price index accounts for about 19% of the consumers price index, which is the Reserve Bank's mandated inflation target when setting interest rates. The central bank expects inflation to accelerate to a 1.5% annual pace in the first quarter, having returned to within its 1-3% target band for the first time in two years in the fourth quarter.

Prices of meat, poultry and fish rose 2.4% in January, with lamb up 11% and chicken rising 4%, but fell 1.1% from the same month last year. Chicken prices fell 7.2% in the year and have declined on an annual basis since June 2015.

Grocery foods rose 2.4% or 1.4% seasonally adjusted in January and increased 1.8% from a year earlier. Chocolate prices gained 14% in the month and fresh milk rose 4.4%.

Restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food prices rose 0.2% in the month and 1.8% in the year.


Jonathan Underhill
Tue, 14 Feb 2017
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Food prices up 0.9% in January