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Consumers Price Index: June 2015 quarter – corrected
Embargoed until 11:30am  –  08 September 2015
Commentary

We republished Consumers Price Index: June 2015 quarter on 8 September to correct a one-off processing error that affected the March and June 2015 quarters' index numbers.

See corrections for details of the changes.

Quarterly rise of 0.4 percent on higher petrol prices

See 'Downloads' box for a one-page detailed summary of this quarter's CPI (PDF).

The consumers price index (CPI) rose 0.4 percent in the June 2015 quarter, following falls of 0.2 percent in both the March 2015 and December 2014 quarters.

Petrol prices rose 8.8 percent in the latest quarter, influenced by higher international crude oil prices and a weaker New Zealand dollar. The average price of a litre of 91 octane petrol in the June 2015 quarter was $1.95, compared with $1.79 and $2.00 in the March 2015 and December 2014 quarters, respectively. By the end of the June quarter, petrol pump prices were 4.1 percent above the average price for the quarter. The CPI less petrol was up 0.1 percent in the June 2015 quarter.

Diesel prices (up 11 percent) also rose in the June quarter, to an average of $1.22 per litre.

Vegetables (up 4.8 percent) showed a seasonal price rise, influenced by higher prices for tomatoes, cucumber, and lettuce.

Prices for newly built houses excluding land rose 1.5 percent nationally, with Auckland up 2.8 percent and Canterbury up 0.7 percent. The March 2015 quarterly rise for Canterbury was 0.2 percent, and from 2012 to 2014, the rises ranged from 1.3 to 3.4 percent. The latest quarterly movements may indicate a slow down.

Housing rentals rose 0.6 percent, with Auckland up 0.8 percent and Canterbury up 0.7 percent.

Domestic air fares fell 13 percent, and were 3.0 percent below the June 2014 quarter level.

Fruit (down 8.7 percent) showed a seasonal price fall, influenced by lower prices for apples and kiwifruit.

Telecommunication services fell 1.9 percent, influenced by price falls and better value plans.

Quarterly non-tradable inflation lowest since the December 2009 quarter

Non-tradables rose 0.1 percent, with higher prices for purchase of new houses and rentals being partly offset by lower prices for domestic airfares and telecommunication services.

Tradables rose 0.9 percent, following a fall of 1.9 percent in the March quarter. Higher prices for petrol and vegetables contributed to the rise.

Annual inflation at 0.4 percent influenced by housing-related costs

In the year to the June 2015 quarter, the CPI increased 0.4 percent. This follows a 0.3 percent annual increase in the year to the March 2015 quarter.

The tradable component decreased 1.8 percent in the latest year. Lower prices for petrol (down 7.4 percent), audio-visual and computing equipment (down 12 percent), purchase of vehicles (down 3.6 percent), and international air fares (down 6.3 percent), made the main downward contributions. Higher prices for confectionery, nuts, and snacks, books, and fruit provided the main upward contributions.

Annual non-tradable inflation (up 2.1 percent) was the lowest since the March 2010 quarter, when it was also up 2.1 percent. Cigarettes and tobacco (up 14 percent) made the largest upward contribution to the latest annual increase, influenced by the excise duty rise in January 2015. Purchase of newly built houses excluding land (up 5.3 percent), rentals for housing (up 2.3 percent), and local authority rates (up 3.9 percent) also rose.

Electricity remained flat in the year to the June 2015 quarter. This is the lowest annual movement for electricity since the year to the December 2001 quarter. Lower prices for telecommunication services (down 4.3 percent) made the main downward contribution.

The CPI excluding petrol increased 0.8 percent in the year to the June 2015 quarter, while the CPI excluding cigarettes and tobacco increased 0.1 percent for the same period.

 

See CPI visualisation – an interactive tool to help you explore the changes in the prices and relative importance of the goods and services in the CPI basket.

See CPI tradables and non-tradables visualisation tool for further information. 

CPI analytical series

The trimmed mean measures – which exclude extreme price rises and falls – had quarterly changes ranging from 0.4 percent to 0.5 percent in the June 2015 quarter. This indicates the ‘underlying’ price change (ie excluding extreme price rises and falls) was in line with the all groups CPI.

See table 13 for further information.

Graph, percentage points contribution to CPI, items that rose or fell in price, June 2012 to June 2015. 

Seasonally adjusted CPI rise of 0.3 percent in the quarter

This quarter, we have introduced seasonal adjustment into the food price index and the CPI. Seasonal adjustment aims to eliminate the impact of regular seasonal events (such as annual cycles in fruit and vegetable production) on time series. Seasonal patterns can obscure the underlying behaviour of the series.

The seasonally adjusted CPI rose 0.3 percent in the June 2015 quarter, following a fall of 0.2 percent in the March quarter.

After seasonal adjustment, vegetable prices fell 3.7 percent compared with a rise of 4.8 percent for the actual series. Electricity prices, which usually rise in a June quarter, fell 1.6 percent after being seasonally adjusted compared with a rise of 0.6 percent for the actual series. This indicates the actual price rise for electricity was lower than usual for this time of year.

For more detail on the seasonally adjusted series, see the Excel tables in the 'Downloads' box. You can also extract the seasonally adjusted series from Infoshare.

Field prices now collected electronically

The way we collect prices for the CPI changed in February. We introduced handheld tablets for field interviewers to price and submit fresh fruit and vegetable and fuel data electronically. Up to now, we've relied on traditional pen and paper methods, coupled with courier mail to receive and send work.

The new approach allows field interviewers to capture and send data back to the office in real time, leading to smarter, faster, and more efficient data collection and processing.

Electronic collection went live in February for fresh fruit and vegetables and for fuel. In April we added other food items and non-food items priced monthly, followed in May by other items in the CPI basket collected from retail outlets like department stores and appliance stores. Our phased approach managed the risks to key statistics from rolling out new technology.

Following the implementation this quarter, all prices from shops in the June 2015 quarter publication were collected electronically.

For more detailed data on the CPI see the Excel tables in the ‘Downloads’ box.

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