13 May 2024

Rents, fuel and food holding up inflation

1:31 pm on 13 May 2024
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Cheaper fruit and vegetables helped to keep the lid on overall rises to food prices. Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

Inflation pressures picked up slightly last month as food prices rose for the first time in three months, along with fuel and rents.

Stats NZ's partial look at monthly prices showed food prices up 0.6 percent on March, to be 0.8 percent higher than a year ago.

Cheaper fruit and vegetables helped to keep the lid on overall rises, but there were increases for most other categories, with groceries more than 1 percent higher, driven by chocolate, potato chips and olive oil.

"Stocking up with fruit and vegetables became cheaper for the third consecutive month," consumer prices manager James Mitchell said.

"At the same time, filling up the fridge and pantry with other food items, and heading out to a cafe or restaurant became more expensive."

Food prices make up just under 19 percent of the main inflation barometer, the consumer price index (CPI).

The second biggest component is rents, which were marginally higher for the month but 4.6 percent higher than a year ago.

Petrol was up nearly 2 percent for the month and 15 percent higher than last year, while local airfares were down 5 percent.

The selected prices reports make up just under half of the CPI.

ANZ economist Henry Russell said the price rises were stronger than expected, and covered products and services that were more volatile, but he was cautious about reading too much into them .

"The miss was not significant enough to alter our view of Q2 CPI and we remain confident that headline inflation will be back within the RBNZ's 1-3 percent target band in Q3 this year."

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