New Zealand food prices shrank for a third month with in-season fruit and vegetables dragging down prices, according to government data.
The Food Price Index fell 1.3 percent to 1,252 in October, according to Statistics New Zealand, led by a 6.1 percent decline in the price of fruit and vegetables. That adds to the 1.3 percent and 1 percent falls in the previous two months.
Four of the five sub-groups measured contracted in October, with the price of meat, poultry and fish down 1.5 percent, grocery food slipping 0.3 percent and non-alcoholic beverage prices falling 0.9 percent. The price of restaurant meals and ready-to-eat foods rose 0.1 percent.
“The declines in the price of most other food categories point to a moderation in underlying food price inflation,” said ASB economist Christina Leung. “It adds at the margin to recent inflation indicators which suggest the RBNZ has some breathing space on the inflation front.”
Annual food inflation slowed to 1.1 percent from an annual pace of 4.7 percent in the 12 months ended Sept. 30 with last year’s hike in GST no longer contributing to the yearly move.
Non-alcoholic beverages rose 4.6 percent in the year, followed by a 2.7 percent increase in grocery food prices, a 2.6 percent rise in ready-to-eat and restaurant meal prices, and a 1.8 percent increase in the price of meat, poultry and fish. Fruit and vegetable prices fell an annual 8.8 percent.