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New Zealand inflation rate at 21-year high on rising fuel and food prices

WELLINGTON--New Zealand's inflation rate hit a 21-year high in the 12 months to June, as rising fuel and food prices pushed up the cost of living, official data released Monday showed.

Statistics New Zealand said consumer prices increased 1.0 percent in the April-June quarter, taking the annual inflation rate to 5.3 percent, the highest since the June quarter in 1990. The quarterly figure exceeded market forecasts of an 0.8 point increase, sending the New Zealand dollar up 0.3 U.S. cents to 84.48 U.S. cents amid expectations the central bank will lift interest rates to combat inflation.

“The stronger-than-expected increase for the second quarter suggests inflation is not as benign as the RBNZ (Reserve bank of New Zealand) would like,” ASB Bank economist Christina Leung said in a note to clients.

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