NZ producer prices fall in 3Q, led by electricity, dairy

Nov. 19 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand producer input and output prices fell last quarter, led by electricity and dairy products, confirming there’s still little sign of inflation pressures in the economy.

Producer input prices, or prices paid by producers, fell 1 percent, the first quarterly decline since the third quarter of 2009, following a 0.6 percent gain three months earlier, according to Statistics New Zealand. Output prices, or prices received by producers, fell 0.9 percent, the biggest drop since the third quarter of 2009, after gaining 0.3 percent in the second quarter.

The government statistician already released inflation data for the third quarter last month, showing the consumer price index rose a smaller-than-expected 0.3 percent, for an annual pace of 0.8 percent, below the central bank’s 1 percent-to-3 percent target band.

“Compared to the CPI, the PPI is more heavily weighted towards exported and imported items, so to a large degree the price drops in Q3 reflect global forces that were already known,” said Michael Gordon, senior economist at Westpac Banking Corp.

Electricity and gas input prices tumbled 15 percent in the latest quarter, mainly reflecting weaker power prices due to higher hydro-storage lake levels and spot market conditions, the government statistician said. Input prices for petroleum and coal manufacturers fell 9.3 percent, reflecting lower prices for imported crude oil.

Input prices for dairy manufacturers fell 6.8 percent, reflecting Fonterra’s milk forecast payouts for the 2012/13 season

Output prices for electricity and gas supply declined 11.5 percent, mainly due to lower generation prices, and was the biggest quarterly decline since December 2008. Output prices for dairy manufacturing fell 10 percent, on lower prices for whole and skim milk powder.

Dairy cattle farming fell 9.4 percent, reflecting lower farm-gate milk prices.



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