Fri, 07 May 2021

WELLINGTON, May 3 (Xinhua) -- Higher prices for petrol have driven up quarterly inflation for all household groups, New Zealand's statistics department Stats NZ said on Monday.

In the March 2021 quarter, as measured in the Household Living-costs Price Indexes (HLPIs), inflation for the all-households group increased by 0.9 percent. This is the same for the lowest-spending households, also up 0.9 percent, and compares with 0.8 percent for the highest-spending households, Stats NZ said.

Each quarter, the HLPIs calculate how inflation affects 13 different groups, while the Consumers Price Index calculates how inflation affects New Zealand as a whole, it said.

Quarterly, transport prices were up for all household groups in the March 2021 quarter, mainly due to rising petrol prices across the board, but affecting low-to-mid-spending households most, the statistics show.

"While higher spending households spend more on petrol, low and middle-spending households typically spend more of their total income on petrol," consumers prices acting manager Matthew Stansfield said in a statement.

"Global oil prices plunged in early 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold. In March 2021, prices had mostly recovered to pre-COVID levels," Stansfield said.

Annual inflation for the highest-spending households was much lower than for the lowest spenders in the year to March 2021, partly driven by falling interest rates, he said.

For the highest spenders, inflation was 0.4 percent for the year to March 2021. This compares with 1.2 percent for the lowest spenders, and 0.7 percent for all households, the statistics show.

The highest-spending households are more likely to have purchased their own home compared with other household groups, so would spend proportionally more on interest payments, Stansfield said, adding changes in house prices and interest rates both contribute to the change in interest payments.

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