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Food prices in New Zealand advanced a seasonally adjusted 0.6 percent on month in January, Statistics New Zealand said on Friday.

Unadjusted, food prices gained 2.1 percent.

On a monthly basis, fruit and vegetable prices rose 3.7 percent (down 0.3 percent after seasonal adjustment); while meat, poultry, and fish prices rose 2.3 percent; grocery food prices rose 2.4 percent (up 1.3 percent after seasonal adjustment); non-alcoholic beverage prices rose 3.9 percent; and restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food prices rose 0.2 percent.

On a yearly basis, food prices were up 3.56 percent in January.

Fruit and vegetable prices increased 2.7 percent; while meat, poultry, and fish prices increased 6.0 percent; grocery food prices increased 2.3 percent; non-alcoholic beverage prices increased 5.3 percent; and restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food prices increased 3.4 percent.

"Meat, poultry, and fish prices have increased 6.0 percent in the year. Restaurant and ready-to-eat meals increased 3.4 percent, while fruit and vegetable prices were up 2.7 percent," consumer prices manager Sarah Johnson said. "Both beef mince and blade steak prices reached all-time highs in January, while bacon and lamb prices have increased sharply in the past 12 months. Decreased pork production in China during 2019 has increased export demand for New Zealand meat products, pushing prices up."

Significant meat price increases include: bacon - up 21 percent to a weighted average price of NZ$13.08 per 700 grams; beef mince - up 13 percent to a weighted average price of NZ$17.07 per kilogram; lamb chops - up 14 percent to a weighted average price of NZ$18.07 per kilogram; and blade steak - up 8.2 percent to a weighted average price of NZ$20.64 per kilogram.

"While prices for red and processed meats have increased, prices for poultry have remained relatively flat, decreasing 0.2 percent in the year to January," Johnson said.

Prices for fish and other seafood also saw a modest increase, up 4.1 percent in the year ended January. These increases were partly offset by decreasing prices for iceberg lettuce (down 34 percent), onions (down 15 percent), and honey (down 21 percent).

The overall annual increase in food prices is the largest since September 2011, when prices increased 4.7 percent.