The Fruit Basket, the mainstay of the Australian diet, is down for the most of the year to the end of March, but up significantly for the past two months.
The index for May has fallen by 4.3 per cent, the worst decline in four years, while the index for August has fallen 1.9 per cent.
Foodservice market research company Sysco has estimated the index’s decline of about 25 per cent to 28 per cent was the worst of the past decade.
The index of food prices rose by 1.1 per cent in the month to the June-to day ending March 1, the highest monthly increase in four decades, as the dollar strengthened and Australian households bought more food.
Economists were cautious about whether the fall in the index would offset the benefit of increased sales in the retail sector, but there was some evidence that the decline in food prices would offset it.
Sysco chief economist Chris McEvoy said the index had been trending up since it began in the mid-2000s.
“The index is still up significantly compared to the year before,” Mr McEvoe said.
He said the decline had been driven by rising costs of food.””
It’s probably a sign of a recovery in consumer spending.”
He said the decline had been driven by rising costs of food.
“There’s been a bit of a shift towards the more expensive foods,” Mr MacEvoe told the ABC.
Mr McEvo said it was too early to draw firm conclusions from the decline, but it was likely to continue. “
So the price of food has gone down.”
Mr McEvo said it was too early to draw firm conclusions from the decline, but it was likely to continue.
He said while food prices were now at record highs, the decline was “probably not as large as you would have thought”.
“People have just been spending more,” he said.
Australian consumer spending rose by 0.9 percentage points in the 12 months to the start of March.
While the average Australian family budget rose by $10,600, the average family was spending $21,600 less than in 2016.
In July, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported a drop in the price per kilogram of beef, pork and lamb, due to a decline in demand for those products.
However, that increase in price was driven by lower prices for meat, dairy and egg products.