NZ food prices fall 0.2 percent in November; lamb leads meat lower, fruit, veges drop

New Zealand food prices fell last month as lamb led a decline in meat and seasonal prices fell for fruit and vegetables. Food prices rose on an annual basis, suggesting inflation pressures may be emerging.

Food prices rose 0.2 percent in November from October and rose 1.4 percent from a year earlier, according to Statistics New Zealand. Prices have fallen or held unchanged in each of the past four months.

The figures come after the Reserve Bank today gave a stronger signal in its monetary policy statement that interest rates will rise next year, noting that inflationary pressures are “projected to increase.” Food prices make up almost 19 percent of the consumer price index.

Prices of meat, poultry and fish fell 2.1 percent last month, led by a 7 percent decline for lamb, a 4.2 percent decline for seafood as a group and a 3.2 percent drop for processed meats.

Fruit and vegetable prices fell 1.1 percent with weaker prices for tomatoes, strawberries and broccoli. Grocery foods were up 0.3 percent led by food additives and condiments, even as the price of bread slipped 2.8 percent. Non-alcoholic drinks rose 1.5 percent and restaurant and takeaway foods fell 0.2 percent.

In the year, grocery foods rose 1.8 percent, led by a 6.7 percent gain for fresh milk, a 12 percent jump for yoghurt and a 23 percent increase for butter. Cheese was up 5.4 percent. Bread rose 2 percent in the year.

Fruit and vegetable prices were down 0.4 percent in the year.

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