Food inflation is down for the fourth month in a row, dipping to an annualized rate of 10.4 percent, aided by beef prices that are lower than a year ago, said the Labor Department on Thursday. President Biden said the 0.3 percent increase in food prices during December was the smallest in almost two years.
U.S. food prices are 11.2 percent higher than a year ago, modestly lower than the inflation rate of the previous month and ending a string of month-over-month increases dating from June 2021, said the government on Thursday.
Wholesale prices rocketed by a near-record 11.3 percent for the year ending in June, said the Labor Department on Thursday, a day after it reported that consumer prices had soared 9.1 percent during same period. Food was an inflationary factor in both reports, although some analysts saw signs that the momentum for higher prices was easing.
Although the U.S. inflation rate slowed to 8.3 percent for the year ending in April, food continues to cost more and more, said the Labor Department on Wednesday. Grocery prices shot up 10.8 percent in the past year, driven by higher prices for such foods as bacon, up 17.7 percent, chicken, up 16.4 percent, and eggs, up 22.6 percent.
The food inflation rate is up for the ninth month in a row and now matches the U.S. inflation rate of 7.9 percent a year, with double-digit increases in the price of meat, milk, and fresh fruit, said the government on Thursday. Prices for groceries rose even faster, 8.6 percent, than the overall food index, which includes food sold at restaurants, fast-food outlets, and company cafeterias.
Food prices are rising at a faster and faster rate, reported the Labor Department on Thursday. Food inflation, a modest 2.2 percent a year last May, started 2022 at a 7 percent gallop, the eighth month in a row the rate has gone up.
Food prices surged by 6.3 percent during 2021, nearly three times the usual rate of annual increase, but food inflation is expected to decrease this year, said the American Enterprise Institute on Tuesday. Retail prices for beef and pork "show signs of weakening," and many commodity prices are forecast to decline late this year following large global harvests, said an AEI paper.
Meat prices fell in the final weeks of 2021, but food inflation climbed again, to an annual rate of 6.3 percent, said the Labor Department on Wednesday. The overall U.S. inflation rate of 7 percent for the past 12 months was the highest since June 1982.
Americans can cook the classic Thanksgiving meal featuring roast turkey and pumpkin pie for $5.33 a person, according to an informal survey of supermarket prices. But while all sides agree that ingredients for the meal will cost more this year, there is a wide range of viewpoints on how large the increase will be.
Consumer prices rose by a larger-than-expected 5.4 percent over the past year, the biggest 12-month increase in the U.S. inflation rate since August 2008, said the Labor Department on Tuesday. Prices for restaurant meals, carry-out food, food from vending machines, and snacks were up by a strong 4.2 percent as the food service sector reopened after pandemic restrictions.
Lower prices for meat, poultry, fish and eggs were the driving factor for a slight decline in grocery prices during August, the second month in a row that supermarket prices were down, said the monthly Consumer Price Index. Despite the decreases, food inflation ran at 4.6 percent in the past 12 months, rising far more rapidly than the overall U.S. rate of 1.3 percent.