Food and beverage C.P.I. rises 0.1% in February

by Eric Schroeder
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WASHINGTON — The Consumer Price Index for food and beverages increased 0.1% in February, climbing to 232.2 from 232.1 in January, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the Department of Labor. The gain followed increases of 0.2% in both January and December.

The food index was flat in February after rising 0.2% in both January and December.

The only major grocery store food group indexes to rise were cereals and bakery products and other food at home. Other food at home was the big mover, rising 0.4% to 203.8, while cereals and bakery products advanced 0.2% to 267.6. Food items tracked within the other food at home category include sugar and sweets, fats and oils, salad dressings, soups, snacks, baby food and some frozen and freeze dried prepared foods.

The food at home index was unchanged at 230.8 for the second consecutive month. Within the food at home group, the indexes for fruits and vegetables continued to decline, falling 0.5% to 278.3. The index for fresh fruits rose 1.3%, but the fresh vegetables index fell 3.5%, its fifth straight month of declines.

The index for dairy and related products, which rose 0.9% in January, fell 0.5% in February.

Also decreasing during the month was the index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs, which fell 0.2% to 229.1.

Meanwhile, the index for nonalcoholic beverages, which eased 0.3% in January, was unchanged in February.

The overall Consumer Price Index increased 0.4% in February, which followed a gain of 0.2% in January. The index now has increased 2.9% over the past 12 months.

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