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Inflation falls for a third consecutive month

Consumer price index: lower fuel and electricity prices helped drive down inflation in March (Photograph by Mark Tatem)

The continuing low price of fuel and electricity helped drive down inflation to 1 per cent in March.

It was the third consecutive month that inflation has fallen since it hit 1.8 per cent in December. Inflation in March was 0.3 percentage points lower than the previous month.

In real terms the measurement means customers paid one per cent more for a basket of goods and services than they did for an identical basket in March 2015.

The average cost of goods and services in the consumer price index edged down 0.1 per cent between February and March.

The fuel and power sector dropped 7.6 per cent, year-on year, with lower electricity prices the major driver.

However, this was balanced out by a 7.1 per cent increase in the health and personal care sector, and a 2 per cent rise in food prices compared to the corresponding period last year.

On a month-by-month basis the food sector was marginally lower, helped by a 5.6 per cent decrease in the price of fresh and frozen pork loin roll, fresh cantaloupes 4.6 per cent lower, and frozen stewed beef down 2.9 per cent.

The rent sector was unchanged in March, while the transport and foreign travel sector was 0.7 per cent lower, driven by cheaper airfares and overseas hotel accommodations.

The all-items index dropped to 100.1 in March.

The Consumer Price Index data was released by the Department of Statistics.

Click on Related Media to read the full consumer Price Index bulletin