Thursday, August 05, 2010

Does Tony Abbott know the price of cheese? Or bread? Or...

Someone had better tell Tony Abbott about the price of cheese.

From Coalition headquarters yesterday came another press release about prices, this one quoting as an authority the Channel Nine Today show.

Apparently the TV station had priced a basket of groceries and found them up 10 per cent in a year.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics also prices groceries. It is extremely good at it using sampling and averaging techniques that would humble a politician or television show.

It's found the price of food up somewhat less - 1.4 per cent over the year, and actually down between the March and June quarters.

Detailed figures released yesterday show the the Melbourne price of a 500g pack of cheese down from $5.84 to $5.73 over the first six months of this year. The average price of a dozen eggs slid from $4.44 to $4.37.

And bread, Tony Abbott's favourite? The average price of a 700g sliced white loaf slid from $3.86 to $3.82.

Some prices are up. A 2 litre bottle of milk costs an extra 7 cents. A 420g can of baked beans an extra 6 cents.

But the vast bulk of prices are little changed... A 1 kilo bag of rice costs a mere 2 cents less than it did a year before, A 500g pack of frozen peas costs a mere 1 cent less.

If Tony Abbott is really concerned about prices he should turn his eyes away from Woolworths and Coles (which has reported deflation over the past quarter) and look at electricity which has jumped in price 18 per cent.

He might like to hazard a guess as to why. Without certainty as to the emissions trading rules we haven't been building many power stations.

What's up?

Milk (2 litres) + 7 cents
Baked Beans (420g can) + 6 cents
Potatoes (1kg) + 6 cents

What's down?

Cheese (500g) - 11 cents
Eggs (dozen) - 7 cents
Bread (700g sliced) - 4 cents

Melbourne prices, December quarter to June quarter
ABS 6403.0.55.001

Published in today's SMH and Age

Average Price of Selected Retail Items, June 2010

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