New Zealand household essential costs up, petrol prices down

Source: Xinhua| 2017-07-18 21:39:18|Editor: Song Lifang
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WELLINGTON, July 18 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand consumers price index (CPI) was flat overall in the June 2017 quarter, down 0.1 percent after seasonal adjustment, the country's statistics department Stats NZ said on Tuesday.

The annual inflation rate was 1.7 percent, down from 2.2 percent in the year to the March 2017 quarter, according to a Stats NZ release.

"Household basics like rent, food, and electricity all hit consumers' pockets harder this quarter," prices senior manager Jason Attewell said in the release.

"Offsetting these price rises were falls in domestic airfares and petrol prices -- which fell on average by 4 cents a litre," Attewell said.

Housing-related prices continued to increase, up 0.8 percent in the June 2017 quarter, and to 3.1 percent annually, Stats NZ said, adding that prices for newly built houses excluding land rose 1.8 percent this quarter.

Seasonally higher prices for electricity, which was up 1.5 percent, were the second-highest contributor for the housing group. Housing rentals rose slightly by 0.4 percent, held down by a 1.6-percent fall for Canterbury, according to Stats NZ.

Higher vegetables prices pushed food inflation up 0.7 percent in the June 2017 quarter to 2 percent for the June 2017 year. Vegetables prices rose 19 percent for the year, with higher prices for lettuce, kumara and broccoli, it said.

Transport prices, which was down 1.3 percent, made the largest downward contribution this quarter. Seasonally lower domestic airfares, which was down 14.5 percent, lower petrol prices, which was down 1.9 percent, and seasonally lower prices for car rentals contributed to the overall price fall, said Stats NZ.

"Holidays were cheaper all round in the June quarter, with prices for accommodation services down 8.1 percent, and package holidays down 1.4 percent," Attewell said.

Annually the largest downward contributions came from lower prices for telecommunication services, which was down 3.8 percent, and equipment, which was down 24 percent, as well as cheaper audio-visual and computing equipment, down nine percent.

"Better technology is reflected as an effective price fall, even if the sticker price remains the same," Attewell said, adding, "Consumers are getting more bang for their buck through better speeds and capacity in their telecommunications plans, and improved features for cellphones, televisions, and laptops."