Thursday, October 30, 2008

Bread. It's getting pricey

If you’ve noticed Melbourne bread becoming more expensive, you’re not alone.

The Bureau of Statistics records the price of bread in each Australian city every three months in order to calculate the consumer price index.

It says that bread is now more expensive in Melbourne than in any other Australian city, including Darwin.

The price of a Melbourne sliced white loaf has climbed from $3.36 to $3.73 over the last year – a jump of 11 per cent.

Chocolate, rump steak, frozen peas and baby food are also more expensive in Melbourne than in any other city, with their prices here climbing faster than the overall rate of inflation.

The news suggests that a recession has yet to reach Melbourne shopkeepers...

Even for products for which the Melbourne price wasn’t the highest, it was often a good deal higher than the price in Sydney.

The Bureau says its shadow shoppers priced potatoes at $2.47 per kilogram in Melbourne in the September quarter compared to only $1.57 in Sydney.

It surveys a variety of shops at a number of different times in order to ensure that the prices it collects are representative.

Milk, cheese, eggs, sugar, jam and instant coffee were all more expensive in Melbourne than in Sydney, with Melbourne’s teabags the most expensive surveyed.

Alcohol was consistently more expensive in Melbourne than in Sydney, with draft full strength beer at a pub costing $3.47 in the southern capital compared to $2.92 north of the Murray.

Only for some cuts of meat was Melbourne relatively cheap, with its loin chops, beef sausages and lamb the cheapest of all the capitals.

Adding all of the Melbourne prices published by the Bureau to create a virtual “shopping trolley”, Commonwealth Securities has totalled the price at $148 in the September quarter, up from $132 three years earlier. But it says because Victoria’s after-tax average wage climbed even faster, Victorians are still slightly ahead.

In the September quarter this year Victoria’s after-tax weekly wage of $906.8 bought a total of 6 trolleys, roughly the same as did Victoria’s after-tax weekly wage of $783.26 three years ago.

“Overall, the average consumer can fit a little more in their
shopping trolley without taking a greater chunk out of the weekly pay packet,” said CommSec’s Craig James, conceding that the gain wasn’t much. “About equivalent of an extra carton of eggs. Not a huge improvement power, but still a gain,” he said.