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Food Price Index: February 2014
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  13 March 2014
Commentary

Lower monthly food prices influenced by cheaper fruit and vegetables

Food prices fell 1.0 percent in February 2014, following a 1.2 percent rise in January 2014.

Prices for the fruit and vegetables subgroup fell 5.9 percent, with vegetable prices down 6.5 percent and fruit prices down 5.1 percent. Lower prices were recorded for apples, which usually fall in February, and tomatoes. Apple prices rose in January, to their highest level since December 2008.

Meat, poultry, and fish prices fell 1.9 percent, with price falls across most types of meat including beef (down 4.6 percent) and lamb (down 9.0 percent).

Non-alcoholic beverages (up 0.7 percent) made the strongest upward contribution, influenced by less discounting on soft drinks.

Grocery food prices rose slightly (up 0.1 percent), influenced by more-expensive snack foods and sauces being partly offset by cheaper chocolate. The price of chocolate was influenced by more discounting on boxed chocolates (down 21 percent). The price of boxed chocolates falls every February, when Valentine's Day occurs. In February 2013, the price of boxed chocolates also fell 21 percent.

 

 Graph, Monthly percentage change, by subgroup, February 2014. Graph, Monthly index points contribution to FPI, by subgroup, February 2014.

The following graph shows the index points contribution to the food price index (FPI) of items that rose or fell in price for the month.

Graph, Index points contribution to food price index, items that rose or fell in price, February 2013 to February 2014.

Annual food prices increase 0.2 percent

In the year to February 2014, grocery food prices increased 1.0 percent. This was influenced by higher prices for dairy products, including fresh milk (up 6.9 percent), cheese (up 6.9 percent), and butter (up 26 percent).

Fruit and vegetable prices decreased 5.6 percent, with vegetable prices down 8.5 percent and fruit prices down 2.1 percent. This was influenced by cheaper apples, lettuce, tomatoes, avocados, and cucumber. Tomato prices (down 23 percent to an average of $2.95 per kilo) were lower than usual for a February month. Avocados were 23 percent cheaper than this time last year, but were up 92 percent compared with February 2012.

 

Graph, Annual percentage change, by subgroup, February 2014. Graph, Annual index points contribution to FPI, by subgroup, February 2014.

Longer-term retail picture for dairy, meat, and grain prices

Milk, cheese, and egg prices increased 5.7 percent in the year to February 2014, and are now 2.5 percent below their peak in July 2011. Fresh milk prices are now 1.3 percent below their February 2011 peak.

Meat and poultry prices are now 2.6 percent below their peak in October 2013. Pork prices are now 4.6 percent below their March 2013 peak, lamb prices are 19 percent below their August 2011 peak, and beef prices are 5.0 percent below their February 2012 peak.

Bread and cereal prices are now 3.3 percent below their peak in February 2012.

Graph, Selected classes – indexes, monthly indexes, June 2006 to February 2014.

For more detailed data from the FPI, see the Excel tables in the 'Downloads' box.

We want your views on the consumers price index (CPI)

We want your views on the CPI Advisory Committee’s recommendations. The committee met in May 2013 to independently review the CPI.

Our consultation ends on 14 March. There is still time to make a submission.

Topics we are consulting on are:

  • Does New Zealand need a monthly CPI?
  • Which regions should we collect CPI prices from?
  • Should we produce price indexes for particular groups of households?
  • Should we produce a seasonally adjusted analytical CPI series?
  • Should we produce indexes that compare price levels of different regions at a single point in time?
  • Should the scope of the CPI be extended to include overseas purchases by New Zealand households when travelling abroad?

Public consultation on CPI Advisory Committee 2013 recommendations will inform this consultation.

Your views will help us prioritise these initiatives, and will help determine how we measure household inflation in the future.

To make a submission, or for further information, please contact:
Nick Martelli or Meighan Ragg
Wellington
0508 525 525 toll-free
Email: cpireview@stats.govt.nz

We are happy to meet with you to discuss your needs.

Please send us your feedback by 5pm Friday, 14 March 2014.

New CPI series available

The following additional series are now available in Infoshare:

Tradables:

  • Quarterly 10 percent trim (series identifier CPIQ.SE9NS4006)
  • Quarterly weighted median (series identifier CPIQ.SE9NS4111)
  • Annual 10 percent trim, June 2011 quarter weights (series identifier CPIQ.SE9NS4656)
  • Annual weighted median, June 2011 quarter weights (series identifier CPIQ.SE9NS4761)

Non-tradables:

  • Quarterly 10 percent trim (series identifier CPIQ.SE9NS4007)
  • Quarterly weighted median (series identifier CPIQ.SE9NS4112)
  • Annual 10 percent trim, June 2011 quarter weights (series identifier CPIQ.SE9NS4657)
  • Annual weighted median, June 2011 quarter weights (series identifier CPIQ.SE9NS4762)

The quarterly series go back to the September 2006 quarter. The annual series go back to the June 2012 quarter.

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