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CPI shows smallest annual increase since September 1999 quarter
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  20 January 2016

Consumers Price Index: December 2015 quarter  –  Media Release

The consumers price index (CPI) increased 0.1 percent in the year to the December 2015 quarter, following a 0.4 percent increase in the year to the September 2015 quarter, Statistics New Zealand said today. The previous smallest annual movement was a 0.5 percent fall in the year to the September 1999 quarter. 

Petrol prices (down 8.1 percent) made the largest downward contribution for the year. Excluding petrol, the CPI showed a 0.5 percent increase in the year to the December 2015 quarter. The small movement for the year was also influenced by both lower vehicle relicensing fees and international air fares.

Housing and household utility prices were up 2.8 percent in the year, with higher prices for housing rentals (up 2.5 percent), newly built houses excluding land (up 5.0 percent), and local authority rates (up 6.2 percent). "Housing-related prices in Auckland increased by more than the national average, with new houses up 7.2 percent and rents up 3.3 percent from a year earlier," consumer prices manager Matt Haigh said.

Quarterly prices fall 0.5 percent

The CPI fell 0.5 percent in the December 2015 quarter. The CPI often falls in December quarters, due to seasonally lower vegetable prices and seasonal discounting, but this is the largest quarterly fall since December 2008. After adjusting for seasonal effects, the CPI fell 0.2 percent.

“Lower prices for petrol and vegetables were partly countered by higher prices for housing-related costs and airfares,” Mr Haigh said.

Petrol prices (down 7.0 percent) made the largest downward contribution for the quarter. Excluding petrol, the CPI showed a 0.2 percent fall. The average price of a litre of 91 octane petrol in the December 2015 quarter was $1.84, compared with $1.98 in the September quarter. By the end of the December quarter, petrol pump prices were 4.5 percent below the average price for the quarter.

Vegetable prices showed a seasonal fall (down 17 percent) in the December 2015 quarter. After adjusting for seasonal effects, vegetable prices were unchanged. Fresh milk prices fell 6.5 percent, and were at their lowest level since the December 2009 quarter.

Prices for tradable goods and services fell 1.8 percent, with the stronger New Zealand dollar lowering prices for petrol and overseas package holidays. Non-tradable goods and services showed a 0.5 percent rise, a range of housing-related price rises, and higher domestic air fares.

The CPI measures the rate of price change of goods and services purchased by New Zealand households.

Ends

For media enquiries contact: Matt Haigh, Wellington 04 931 4600, info@stats.govt.nz
Authorised by Liz MacPherson, Government Statistician, 20 January 2016

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