NZ food prices fall 1.3 percent in March as fruit, vegetable, groceries fall

New Zealand food prices recorded their biggest drop since October 2011 last month, led by declines in prices of apples, tomatoes, kumara, mandarins and chocolate bars.

Prices fell 1.3 percent in March from February and declined 0.4 percent from March 2012, according to Statistics New Zealand. The monthly decline was the biggest in 17 months.

Food prices make up about 19 percent of the consumer price index, which will be released for the first quarter on April 17 and if the Reserve Bank’s forecast is accurate, will show the inflation rate was 0.4 percent after prices fell in the final quarter of 2012.

Prices of fruit and vegetables declined 6.5 percent in March and gained 3.8 percent in the year. Grocery prices declined 0.8 percent in the month and fell 2.6 percent in the year.

Meat, poultry and fish prices fell 0.9 percent in March from February and were down 0.4 percent for the same months of 2012. Non-alcoholic drinks fell 0.8 percent in the month and 0.5 percent in the year while restaurant and ready-to-eat meals rose 0.2 percent in the month and rose 1.1 percent in the year.

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