Story image

NZ food prices rise at fastest pace since 2011, led by rising fruit and veggie prices

15 Apr 2015

New Zealand food prices rose at their fastest annual pace in over three years in March, pushed higher by rising fruit and vegetable prices.

The food price index rose 0.1 percent in March, from a 0.7 percent drop in February, according to Statistics New Zealand. Prices increased 1.9 percent from the same month a year earlier, the largest annual increase since December 2011, and accelerating from a 1.5 percent increase in the year to February.

The food price index makes up nearly one fifth of the broader consumers price index, which dropped below the Reserve Bank's 1 percent to 3 percent range, rising at a 0.8 percent annual pace in 2014. Last month central bank governor Graeme Wheeler kept the official cash rate on hold at 3.5 percent, flagging any further downward surprises in New Zealand's already tepid pace of inflation may warrant an interest rate cut.

"Broader food price inflation pressures remain relatively contained," Jane Turner, senior economist at ASB Bank, said in a note. "Inflation pressures are currently very weak. As a result, we do not expect any rate hikes from the RBNZ in the foreseeable future. Indeed, the near-term risks are skewed toward a rate cut if the inflation outlook continues to disappoint."

On a monthly basis grocery foods, which make up more than a third of the measure, led the index higher, gaining 1.2 percent. In that sub-index, the price of bread and cereals increased 1.7 percent, cakes and biscuits rose 4.4 percent and yoghurt climbed 7 percent, mainly reflecting a reduction in store discounting, Statistics NZ said. Meat, poultry and fish increased 0.4 percent, while restaurant meals and ready-to-eat foods gained 0.2 percent in March from the previous month.

The monthly gain was tempered by a 3.1 percent drop across fruit and vegetables because of seasonally lower prices, while non-alcoholic beverages slipped 0.6 percent.

The annual gain was led by a 7 percent jump in fruit and vegetables. Grocery foods increased 0.5 percent, while milk, cheese and eggs climbed 1.6 percent. Meat, poultry and fish prices rose 2.5 percent, while restaurant meals and ready-to-eat foods increased 1.7 percent in the year to March. Non-alcoholic beverages edged up 0.6 percent.

Security flaw in Xiaomi electric scooters could have deadly consequences
An attacker could target a rider, and then cause the scooter to suddenly brake or accelerate.
Four ways the technology landscape will change in 2019
Until now, organisations have only spoken about innovative technologies somewhat theoretically. This has left people without a solid understanding of how they will ultimately manifest in our work and personal lives.
IDC: Top 10 trends for NZ’s digital transformation
The CDO title is declining, 40% of us will be working with bots, the Net Promoter Score will be key to success, and more.
Kiwi partner named in HubSpot’s global top five
Hype & Dexter is an Auckland-based agency that specialises in providing organisations with marketing automation solutions.
Moustache Republic expands Aussie presence with new exec
The Kiwi digital commerce partner has appointed a Sydney-based director to oversee the expansion of the company’s Australian footprint.
Epson’s new EcoTank range with two years printing per tank
With 11 new EcoTank printers that give an average user two years of printing and cost just $17.99/colour to refill, Epson is ready to change the game.
Te reo Māori goes global via language app called Drops
If you’re keen to learn a few words of Māori – or as much as 90% of the language, you may want to check out an Android and iOS app called Drops.
Reckon Group announces a steady profit in 2018
Reckon continued its investment in growth throughout the year with a development spend of $14.3 million.