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New Zealand Inflation Climbs 1.4% On Year In Q4

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Consumer prices in New Zealand jumped 1.4 percent on year in the fourth quarter of 2020, Statistics New Zealand said on Friday - unchanged from the previous three months and exceeding expectations for an increase of 1.0 percent.

Individually, housing and household utilities increased 2.6 percent on year, with rentals for housing up 2.9 percent. Food prices increased 2.5 percent, with fruit and vegetables up 8.6 percent.

Alcoholic beverages and tobacco increased 6.0 percent with cigarettes and tobacco up 11 percent. Transport prices decreased 3.7 percent with private transport supplies and services down 8.1 percent.

On a seasonally adjusted quarterly basis, inflation rose 0.6 percent (0.5 percent unadjusted) - beating expectations for a flat reading following the 0.7 percent gain in the previous three months.

Individually, transport rose 2.3 percent on quarter, influenced by higher prices for purchase of vehicles (up 3.0 percent) and passenger transport services (up 7.9 percent). Recreation and culture rose 2.6 percent, influenced by higher prices for accommodation services (up 11 percent).

Housing and household utilities rose 0.5 percent, influenced by higher prices for purchase of housing (up 1.3 percent). Food fell 1.7 percent, influenced by lower prices for fruit and vegetables (down 12 percent).

The average price for 1 liter of 91 octane petrol was NZ$1.87 in Q4, up from $1.86 in the September 2020 quarter, and down from NZ$2.14 a year earlier.

The average price for 1 pack of 25 cigarettes was NZ$42.03 in Q4, up from NZ$41.74 in the three months prior and up from NZ$37.51 from a year earlier.

Purchase of housing was up 1.3 percent in the December quarter, with anecdotal reports of rising labor costs as well as rising prices for some materials and components. Regionally, prices rose 0.5 percent in Auckland, 0.6 percent in Wellington, and 1.3 percent in Canterbury.

For the year ended December 2020: CPI excluding food increased 1.1 percent; CPI excluding housing and household utilities increased 1.1 percent; and CPI excluding alcoholic beverages and tobacco increased 1.1 percent.

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