Beef again leads food-price inflation

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Beef and veal prices rose by 5.4 percent between September 2011 and September 2012, according to the latest Consumer Price Index (CPI) data from USDA. The index for all food increased by 1.6 percent during the same period.

The index for pork prices declined by 2.7 percent over the past 12 months, while the index for poultry increased by 4.8 percent. The index for all meats, poultry and fish increased by 2.1 percent during the same period.

For 2012, USDA projects the CPI for beef and veal will increase by 3.5 to 4.5 percent, while the index for all food will increase by 2.5 to 3.5 percent. But while beef and veal prices have increased more than those for other foods over the past year, the 2012 price hike falls well short of that during 2011, when the CPI for beef and veal climbed by 10.2 percent.

Fats and oils are another category experiencing higher prices, with the index rising 3.8 percent from September 2011 through September 2012. The agency projects an annual increase of 5 to 6 percent in the CPI for fats and oils for 2012, largely due to higher soybean prices as a result of the drought. Like meats however, this year’s increase in fat and oil prices is less extreme than that of 2011, when the CPI increased by 9.3 percent.

The CPI for fresh fruits posted a decline of 4.9 percent between September 2011 and September 2012, helping compensate for higher prices in other food categories.

The agency expects larger increases in most food prices next year as the effects of the 2012 drought begin to have a greater impact at the retail level. The report projects an increase of 4 to 5 percent in the CPI for beef and veal and a 3 to 4 percent increase in the index for all foods in 2013.

The CPI for food at home increased by just 0.8 percent since last September, while the index for food away from home increased by 2.8 percent. The increase in the CPI for food away from home suggests consumers are dining out a little more as the economy improves, after pulling back on restaurant visits during the recession.

View the latest Consumer Price Index data from the USDA’s Economic research Service.



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c. andrews    
chicago-kansas  |  October, 31, 2012 at 09:33 AM

Beef/cattle are amazing as they are the forerunner of inflation. No one can explain why but no one argues the fact. I am astounded how the end cuts (chucks & rounds) are really leading the way. Of course the ribs & loins are in their peak season but for example the 116A chuck is reaching upper $2.00 and the branded reached over $3.00 last week. I've had a projection of $1.40 cattle for years but that's not important the question is WHEN. I'm very skeptial however inflating the global markets is the proper way out as the masses (7B inhapitants) are not going to accept severe austerity.


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