Food Price Direction Remains Mixed for 2013

June 25, 2013 03:44 AM

USDA's Economic Research Service (ERS) forecasts all food and food-at-home prices in 2013 will increase 2.5% to 3.5% based on current conditions. This forecast implies that prices will likely increase more so than in 2012, but that inflation will remain near the historical average for both indexes. ERS notes that it expects inflation to remain strong, especially in the first half of 2013 for most animal-based food products due to higher feed prices. "For most food categories not directly affected by the 2012 drought, however, inflation is expected to be at or even below normal levels," ERS continues.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) for all food declined 0.1% from April to May to 1.4% above year-ago levels. The food-at-home CPI rose 0.3% since April to 0.8% above May 2012. The food-away-from-home (restaurant) index rose 0.2% from April to 2.3% above year-ago. The all-items CPI rose 0.2% for the month of May to 1.4% above year-ago. "The overall direction of prices in 2013 continues to be mixed, and the food-at-home CPI is down 0.1% thus far in 2013," ERS explains.

Following are some May 2013 price highlights:

  • Beef prices were up 0.5% in May and are 1.7% above last May.
  • Pork prices increased 0.6% in May and are 0.2% below last May's level.
  • Poultry prices were unchanged in May; poultry prices are 5.6% above prices last year at this time.
  • Fish and seafood prices decreased 0.9% from April to May and are 1.7% above the May 2012 level.
  • Egg prices fell 3% in May and are now 6.3% above the May 2012 level.
  • Dairy prices decreased 0.8% from April to May, and were unchanged from March to April. Dairy prices are now 0.1% above the May 2012 level.
  • Fresh fruit prices increased 2.4% in May, and the fresh fruit index is up 2.1% from last year at this time.
  • The fresh vegetable index decreased 2% in May. Since last year at this time, fresh vegetable prices are up 3.3%.
  • Processed fruit and vegetable prices rose 1.5% in May and are up 0.5% from the May 2012 level.
  • Cereal and bakery product prices decreased 0.1% from April to May and are up 0.9% from last year at this time.
  • Sugar and sweets prices were down 0.4% in May and are 1.6% below the May 2012 level.
  • Nonalcoholic beverages prices, including coffee and carbonated beverages, are down 1.6% in May and are down 1% from last year.
  • The index for fats and oils was unchanged from April to May and is 1.4% below the May 2012 level.


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