New Zealand food prices rose for the first time in five months in January, led by fruit, vegetables and grocery items such as biscuits, yoghurt and bread.
The food price index climbed 1.9 percent in January, following a 0.2 percent decline in December, according to Statistics New Zealand. All five categories of food measured rose in the latest month.
Fruit and vegetable prices rose 3.5 percent, led by seasonally higher prices for mandarins, apples, lettuce, broccoli, strawberries and kiwifruit. Grocery prices rose 1.9 percent and made the biggest contribution to the food price index's monthly gain.
Prices for meat, poultry and fish rose 2.2 percent and non-alcoholic beverages gained 2.2 percent. Restaurant and fast-food meal prices rose 0.2 percent.
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Food prices rose 0.8 percent from January 2012, with fruit and vegetables rising 5.9 percent, leading in both percentage terms and index contribution. Kumara, apples and avocados rose.
Grocery food prices fell 1.5 percent in the year, led by a 9.4 percent drop for fresh milk, a 6 percent decline in cheese, an 18 percent fall in butter and a 2.4 percent decline for bread.
Food prices account for almost 19 percent of the consumer price index and the New Zealand dollar climbed after the figures were released. The food prices report followed the release of the BNZ-Business New Zealand Performance of Manufacturing Index, which climbed 4.8 points to 55.2 last month, the highest since May last year and the highest for the month of January since 2007.
The kiwi dollar recently traded at 84.58 US cents from 89.11 cents before the reports were made public.