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CPI rises 0.3 percent in September quarter
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  23 October 2014

Consumers Price Index: September 2014 quarter  –  Media Release

The consumers price index (CPI) rose 0.3 percent in the September 2014 quarter, Statistics New Zealand said today. This is the third consecutive quarterly rise of 0.3 percent.

“Higher housing-related prices were responsible for about three-quarters of the rise in the CPI this quarter. The rest of the basket was relatively subdued,” prices manager Chris Pike said.

Prices for housing and household utilities rose 1.0 percent, reflecting higher local authority rates (up 3.8 percent), housing rentals (up 0.6 percent), and newly built houses (up 1.1 percent). Local authorities set their rates annually, and these are mainly shown in the September quarter CPI.

Lower prices for household contents and services (down 1.3 percent) reflected falls for textiles, furniture, and whiteware. Communication also fell (down 1.4 percent), reflecting better-value telecommunication services (down 1.1 percent) and cheaper telecommunication equipment, mainly cellphone handsets (down 7.5 percent).

Transport prices were up 0.1 percent, with higher petrol prices (up 1.0 percent) and international air fares (up 1.4 percent) countered by cars (down 1.0 percent) and warrants of fitness. Fewer cars now require a six-month warrant of fitness, which has been shown as a price fall in the CPI.

"Overall food prices were flat, but there was a relatively large fall for bread, with supermarkets discounting some of their own-brand bread to about $1.00," Mr Pike said. Vegetable prices rose 10 percent in the quarter on the back of a mild winter – compared with a 20 percent rise in the September 2013 quarter.

Annual change in prices slows

The CPI increased 1.0 percent in the year to the September 2014 quarter, following increases of 1.6 percent in the year to the June 2014 quarter, and 1.5 percent in the year to the March 2014 quarter.

Housing and household utilities was the main contributor in the latest year, with housing rentals (up 2.2 percent), newly built houses (up 4.8 percent), and electricity (up 3.7 percent) all increasing in price.

Cigarette and tobacco prices increased 11.6 percent, influenced by an increase in excise duty in January.

Audio-visual and computing equipment (down 9.8 percent) was the main downward contributor, with lower prices for a range of consumer electronic goods.

Petrol prices were lower than they were this time last year – down 1.8 percent.

The CPI measures the rate of price change of goods and services purchased by New Zealand households. We calculated the September 2014 quarter CPI using an updated basket of goods and services, and updated expenditure weights, as part of a three-yearly review. We are now using retail transaction data (ie scanner data) to measure price change for consumer electronic goods, which is a world first.

For media enquiries contact: Chris Pike, Wellington 04 931 4600,
Authorised by Kelvin Watson, Acting Government Statistician, 23 October 2014

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