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Financial News: New Zealand Q2 Inflation Unchanged On Quarter

New Zealand Q2 Inflation Unchanged On Quarter

07/17/2017 - 19:45:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - Consumer prices in New Zealand were flat on a seasonally adjusted, quarterly basis in the second three months of 2017, Statistics New Zealand said on Tuesday.

That was shy of forecasts for an increase of 0.2 percent following the 1.0 percent gain in the first quarter.

On a yearly basis, consumer prices were up 1.7 percent - also below forecasts for 1.9 percent and down from 2.2 percent.

Household basics like rent, food, and electricity all hit consumers' pockets harder this quarter," prices senior manager Jason Attewell said. "Offsetting these price rises were falls in domestic airfares and petrol prices - which fell on average by 4 cents a liter."

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

Regionally, Auckland had the largest increase in the June 2017 quarter (up 3.0 percent), followed by Canterbury (up 0.8 percent), and Wellington (up 0.5 percent). Seasonally higher prices for electricity (up 1.5 percent) were the second-highest contributor for the housing group. Housing rentals rose slightly (up 0.4 percent), held down by a 1.6 percent fall for Canterbury.

Higher vegetables prices pushed food inflation up 0.7 percent in the June 2017 quarter to 2.0 percent for the June 2017 year. Vegetables prices rose 19 percent for the year, with higher prices for lettuce, kumara, and broccoli.

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

"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 (down 3.8 percent) and equipment (down 24 percent) as well as cheaper audio-visual and computing equipment (down 9.0 percent).

"Better technology is reflected as an effective price fall, even if the sticker price remains the same," Attewell said. 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."

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