Retail beef prices drop slightly in January

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The latest Consumer Price Index (CPI) report from USDA, released February 25, shows retail beef and veal prices fell by 0.2 percent between December and January. The price-inflation rate on most other food items also has dropped off in recent months.

Over the past 12 months, from January 2012 to January 2013, beef and veal prices rose by 3.2 percent, a modest increase compared with 2011, for which the report shows an increase of 10.2 percent.  Over the same period, steak prices rose by 2.9 percent and ground beef prices were up 3.9 percent.

The previous month’s report showed beef and veal prices increasing by 4.6 percent from December 2011 through December 2012, so the rate of increase has been trending lower. For 2013, the report projects beef and veal prices will increase by 3 to 4 percent.

The index for pork prices decreased by 2.6 percent over the past 12 months, following an increase of 8.5 percent in 2011. The index for poultry increased by 5.6 percent from January 2012 through January 2013. The index for all meats, poultry and fish increased by 1.4 percent during the same period.

Over the past 12 months, the CPI for all food increased by 1.6 percent, compared with an annual increase of 3.7 percent during 2012. For 2013, the USDA projects further increases of 3 to 4 percent.

Fats and oils are another category that has shown significant price inflation over the past two years, but that rate seems to be slowing, with just a 0.1 percent increase over the past 12 months, compared with a 9.3 percent increase in FY 2011. The agency projects an annual increase of 2 to 3 percent in the CPI for fats and oils for 2013.

The CPI for fresh fruits posted an increase of 3.4 percent over the past 12 months, compared with 4.5 for FY 2011.

The CPI for food at home increased by 1.1 percent from January 2012 through January 2013, a slower rate of increase compared with FY 2011 when the index for food at home increased by 4.8 percent. The index for food away from home increased by 2.3 percent during the same period, compared with 2.3 percent in 2011.

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



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