C.P.I. for food and beverages rises 0.3% in May

by Eric Schroeder
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WASHINGTON — The Consumer Price Index for food and beverages was 212.1 in May, up 0.3% from 211.4 in April, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor said. The gain followed a 0.9% advance in April. Meanwhile, the index for All Urban Consumers increased 0.8% in May, before seasonal adjustment. The May level of 216.6 was 4.2% higher than in May 2007.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the C.P.I. advanced 0.6% in May, which followed a 0.2% increase in April. Within the overall C.P.I., the index for energy jumped 4.4% after being virtually flat in April. Within energy, the index for petroleum-based energy increased 5.8% and the index for energy services rose 2.3%.

The index for food at home, which rose 1.5% in April, increased 0.3% in May to 211.6.

The index for cereal and bakery remained strong, advancing 1.6% to 243.5, which followed a 1.4% gain in April.

The index for fruits and vegetables, which rose 2% in April, was virtually unchanged in May. A 0.7% decrease in the indexes for fresh fruits offset increases in the indexes for fresh vegetables and processed fruits and vegetables, which were up 0.5% and 0.4%, respectively.

The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs, which rose 0.9% in April, advanced 0.1% in May to 201.6. Beef prices, which fell 1.1% in April, rose 1.5% in May, while prices for poultry and fish and seafood increased 0.8% and 0.9%, respectively. The increases were largely offset by decreases in the indexes for pork, for other meats and for eggs, the B.L.S. noted.

The index for dairy products, fell 0.1% following a 1.2% increase in April. Milk prices declined 0.7% in the month but were still 10.2 higher than in May 2007, the B.L.S. said.

Other food at home climbed 0.5% to 182.4.

The index for nonalcoholic beverages, which increased 1.7% in April, fell 0.9% in May to 158.4.

The other two components of the food and beverage index — food away from home and alcoholic beverages — increased 0.4% and 0.1%, respectively, the B.L.S. said.

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