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New Zealand Food Prices Rise 2.9% On Year In December

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Food prices in New Zealand jumped 2.9 percent on year in December, Statistics New Zealand said on Friday - accelerating from 2.6 percent in November.

Individually, fruit and vegetable prices increased 8.9 percent on year; meat, poultry, and fish prices decreased 0.7 percent; grocery food prices increased 1.8 percent; non-alcoholic beverage prices increased 1.7 percent; and restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food prices increased 3.8 percent.

"In 2020 prices have been high for a variety of crops, including potatoes, courgettes and tomatoes, at different times of the year and for different reasons," consumer prices manager Katrina Dewbery said.

On a monthly basis, food prices were up a seasonally adjusted 0.5 percent and 0.1 percent unadjusted.

Individually, fruit and vegetable prices rose 1.4 percent on month (up 0.9 percent after seasonal adjustment); meat, poultry, and fish prices fell 0.3 percent; grocery food prices rose 0.3 percent (up 0.7 percent after seasonal adjustment); non-alcoholic beverage prices fell 1.7 percent; and restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food prices rose 0.3 percent.

Food prices overall were relatively unchanged, despite kiwifruit prices rising 19 percent to an all-time high of NZ$8.46 per kilo in December 2020. This was slightly up from the previous high of NZ$8.27 in December 2019.

Kiwifruit is typically more expensive in December as less of the fruit is available domestically after the harvest ends in May and more is imported.

"Increased air freight costs due to COVID-19 border restrictions could be influencing the price rise as more kiwifruit is imported between November and February," Dewbery said.

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