Food prices in New Zealand slipped 0.5 percent on month in August, Statistics New Zealand said on Friday, after climbing 0.6 percent in July and a 0.5 percent gain in June.
Individually, grocery food prices fell 1.8 percent, with lower prices for cheese and for snack foods. Meat, poultry, and fish prices also fell 1.8 percent, influenced by lower prices for chicken, processed meat, and beef.
These falls were partly offset by higher prices for fruit and vegetables (up 3.1 percent). Vegetable prices rose 4.6 percent in the month, influenced by higher prices for tomatoes.
On a yearly basis, food prices added 0.4 percent, slowing from the 1.2 percent spike in July.
Individually, fruit and vegetable prices jumped 3.7 percent, while meat, poultry, and fish prices remained unchanged.
Fruit prices increased 9.6 percent on year, while vegetable prices increased 0.5 percent. In August the average price of bananas was NZ$3.02 per kilo, compared with NZ$2.63 per kilo a year ago.
Restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food prices rose 1.9 percent, while non-alcoholic beverage prices rose 0.9 percent. Meat, poultry, and fish prices remained unchanged overall, with increases for beef and pork offset by lower prices for chicken.
Lower prices for grocery food (down 1.8 percent, to their lowest level in five years) were influenced by lower prices for fresh milk, cheese, and butter. Fresh milk prices are now at the lowest level since August 2013. Lower cheese prices (down 8.9 percent) were influenced by more discounting.
Also on Friday, the latest survey from Business NZ showed that the manufacturing sector in New Zealand continued to expand in August at an accelerated pace with a score of 55.0.
That’s up from the upwardly revised 53.7 in July (originally 53.5), and it moves further above the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction.
Analysts cite the weaker kiwi and low interest rates as main catalysts for the increase.
“Export growth due to the decrease in the value of the New Zealand dollar remained a key comment in ensuring comments were more positive than negative. On the flip side, manufacturers also noted the adverse economic news offshore, which is causing a drop in new orders for some,” said Business NZ’s executive director for manufacturing Catherine Beard.
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