Food prices in New Zealand were down 0.7 percent on month in February, Statistics New Zealand said on Thursday.
That missed forecasts for a decline of 0.4 percent following the 1.3 percent gain in January and the 0.3 percent increase in December.
“Lower prices for fruit, vegetables, and meat this month were partly countered by higher prices for sweets, energy drinks, and soft drinks,” prices manager Chris Pike said.
The fall in fruit and vegetable prices (down 2.4 percent) was influenced by seasonal price falls for both fruit (down 2.8 percent) and vegetables (down 2.1 percent). The main downward contributions came from apples and tomatoes, partly countered by higher prices for strawberries.
Apple prices fell 23 percent from a peak in January, but are still 25 percent higher than a year earlier. New season apples arrived later than usual in January, and in smaller volumes, due to adverse weather conditions in spring.
Lower prices for meat, poultry, and fish (down 1.6 percent) were influenced by lower prices for all types of meat, particularly lamb, beef, and chicken. Prices for beef and chicken peaked in the previous two months.
Grocery food prices fell 0.6 percent, with lower prices for snack foods, yoghurt, chocolate, and bread. These falls were partly countered by higher prices for sweets. The price of boxed chocolates (down 16 percent) falls every February, when Valentine’s Day occurs.
Prices for non-alcoholic beverages rose 1.1 percent, reflecting less discounting on energy drinks, soft drinks, and packaged coffee.
On a yearly basis, food prices climbed 1.5 percent after rising 1.2 percent in the previous month.
Fruit and vegetable prices increased 11 percent. Prices were higher for lettuce, apples, potatoes, pumpkin, broccoli, and carrots, while prices for tomatoes were lower.
Meat, poultry, and fish prices increased 3.1 percent, reflecting higher prices for beef (up 9.6 percent).
Grocery food prices decreased 2.3 percent in the year to February, influenced by lower bread prices (down 12 percent). Supermarkets discounting some own-brand bread to about NZ$1.00 from the second half of last year contributed to the lower bread prices. Prices for snack foods, butter, cheese, and chocolate also decreased, while fresh milk prices increased for the year.
The material has been provided by InstaForex Company – www.instaforex.com