Drought causes jump in food costs

Price rises in the September quarter were smaller than in the June quarter with all tribes experiencing similar increases but for different reasons.

The Affluent tribes experienced the biggest rises (0.5 per cent), driven mainly by recreation costs, while the Cash Strapped tribes (0.4 per cent rise) were most affected by the cost of food and non-alcoholic beverages.

But it was recreation costs that had the biggest impact in the quarter. This was mainly due to international holiday, travel and accommodation costs (up 6.1 per cent) although they were largely restricted to travel to Europe and the US. These increases had the biggest effect on the Affluent tribes, who are more likely to travel internationally.

Food and non-alcoholic beverage costs had a big impact across all tribes. The drought continued to affect many foodstuffs, including meat and seafood (+1.7 per cent), dairy and related products (+2.2 per cent) and bread and cereal products (+1.3 per cent). These increases were partly offset by falls in the cost of fruit and vegetables (-2.9 per cent) as berries, citrus and tomatoes came into season.

Food price rises had the biggest impact on Cash Strapped tribes as they spend a bigger proportion of their income on food essentials.

There were very few price falls in the quarter, with the exception of communication, mainly due to a drop in the cost of telecommunication equipment (-1.1 per cent), and transport, due to a two per cent drop in automotive fuel costs.

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Matt Grudnoff
Matt Grudnoffhttps://australiainstitute.org.au/expert/matt-grudnoff/
Senior economist at the Australia Institute, Matt is a regular contributor to YourLifeChoices and has extensive knowledge on retirement incomes, taxation and tax concessions, the federal Budget, poverty and inequality, free trade agreements, housing affordability, energy economics and climate change. He worked at the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Department of Climate Change. Matt is the brains behind Australia's most accurate cost-of-retirement table, the YourLifeChoices Retirement Affordability Index™.
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