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Farm Input Prices Fall

The Farm Expenses Price Index fell 0.8 percent in the March 2003 quarter, after recording no change in the December 2002 quarter, according to Statistics New Zealand. The last time this index fell was in the June 1999 quarter. On an annual basis, farm input prices have risen 1.2 percent between the March 2002 and March 2003 quarters.

The most significant downward contributions came from the livestock purchases index and the interest rates index. The livestock purchases index fell 7.1 percent in the March 2003 quarter – its third consecutive quarterly fall, reflecting lower prices for sheep, cattle, and deer. Interest rates in the March 2003 quarter fell 1.4 percent as a result of more competitive market rates.

Farm input prices excluding livestock rose 0.4 percent in the March 2003 quarter, reflecting higher fuel costs. The fuel input index, which rose 6.0 percent in the quarter, was mainly influenced by higher diesel prices on the world market.

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