N.Z. Producer Prices Post Slowest Annual Gain in Two Years

Prices paid by New Zealand farms, factories and other producers for commodities and services rose at the slowest annual pace in more than two years, a sign that wholesale inflation is contained.

Producer input prices increased 1.9 percent in the second quarter from the year-earlier period, Statistics New Zealand said in Wellington today. That was the smallest annual rise since the first quarter of 2010. Prices rose 0.6 percent from the first quarter.

Prices paid by dairy manufacturers fell 14 percent from the year-earlier quarter as global milk prices dropped. Prices for logs and meat also had annual declines, today’s report showed.

In the quarter, prices paid by electricity retailers rose 8.2 percent as lower flows into hydro storage lakes pushed up wholesale power prices, today’s report showed. Rising crude oil prices and refining fees increased costs for the petroleum industry.

New Zealand’s dollar fell in the quarter, increasing prices of imported goods. The currency weakened 6.2 percent against the U.S. dollar and also declined against the yen, pound and euro during the period, the statistics agency said. The price index is calculated based on exchange rates as of May 15 compared with Feb. 15.

Producer output prices, which are paid to factories, farms and other producers, rose 0.3 percent from the first quarter, the agency said. From a year earlier, output prices gained 0.5 percent, also the smallest annual increase since the first quarter of 2010.

Electricity generators and retailers received more for the power they produced and sold as market prices increased, the statistics agency said. Rentals for office property gained the most since records began in 1994.

Payments to dairy farmers fell 6.9 percent from the first quarter after Fonterra Cooperative Group Ltd., the world’s largest dairy exporter, reduced its payments to suppliers, citing falling world prices and a rising currency.

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