C.P.I. for food and beverages jumps 0.9% in April

by Eric Schroeder
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WASHINGTON — The Consumer Price Index for food and beverages was 211.4 in April, up 0.9% from 209.5 in March, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor said. The gain followed a 0.2% advance in March. Meanwhile, the index for All Urban Consumers increased 0.6% in April, before seasonal adjustment. The April level of 214.8 was 3.9% higher than in April 2007.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the C.P.I. advanced 0.2% in April, which followed a gain of 0.3% in March. Within the overall C.P.I., the index for energy was virtually unchanged after a 1.9% gain in March. Within energy, the index for petroleum-based energy fell 1.6%% while the index for energy services rose 2.5%.

The index for food at home, which rose 0.2% in March, increased 1.5% in April to 211.1. The gain reflected substantial gains in all six major grocery store food groups, the B.L.S. said.

The index for fruits and vegetables, which rose 0.1% in March, jumped 2% in April to 274.1. Within the grouping, the indexes for fresh fruits and processed fruits and vegetables increased 3.2% and 3.4%, respectively, while the index for fresh vegetables fell 0.2%.

The index for cereal and bakery products, which rose 1.3% in March, gained an additional 1.4% in April, as prices for bread increased 1.5%.

The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs, which was virtually unchanged in March, rose 0.9% in April to 201.4. A 1.1% decline in beef prices was more than offset by increases in the indexes for pork, fish and seafood, and poultry, the B.L.S. said.

The index for dairy products, which fell 0.8% in March, rebounded, rising 1.2% to 207.9 in April. Milk prices rose 0.9% in the month and were 13.5% higher than in April 2007, the B.L.S. said.

Other food at home climbed 1.9% to 181.5. The gain was boosted in part to the indexes for butter and for margarine, which rose 7.8% and 6.5%, respectively.

The index for nonalcoholic beverages, which rose 0.3% in March, gained 1.7% in April, reflecting large price increases for coffee and for carbonated drinks, up 4% and 2.2%, respectively.

The other two components of the food and beverage index — food away from home and alcoholic beverages — increased 0.3% and 0.6%, respectively, the B.L.S. said.

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