Beef prices continue upward

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The latest Consumer Price Index (CPI) report from USDA shows retail beef and veal prices have continued to rise through 2012, while all food prices, on average, have stabilized. But while the report projects beef and veal prices to increase 5.5 to 6.5 percent this year, the rate of increase has slowed somewhat. During 2011, beef prices rose by 10.2 percent. For next year, the report projects beef and veal prices will increase by 3 to 4 percent, a reduction from last-month’s report, which projected a 5 to 6 percent increase in beef and veal prices during 2013.

The index for pork prices declined by 2.1 percent over the past 12 months, while the index for poultry increased by 5.5 percent. The index for all meats, poultry and fish increased by 2.4 percent during the same period.

For 2012, USDA projects the CPI for all food will increase by 2.5 to 3.5 percent.

Fats and oils are another category experiencing higher prices, with the index rising 3 percent from October 2011 through October 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 0.1 percent between October 2011 and October 2012, helping compensate for higher prices in other food categories.

The agency expects continued 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 3 to 4 percent in the index for all foods in 2013.

The CPI for food at home increased by just 1 percent since last October, while the index for food away from home increased by 2.7 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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