Food and beverage price index drops for fifth month

by Eric Schroeder
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WASHINGTON — The overall Consumer Price Index climbed 0.2% in April to 213.2, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the Department of Labor. Meanwhile, the index for food and beverages eased 0.2%, falling to 218.4 from 218.8. The decline in the food and beverage index marked the fifth consecutive period of month-over-month declines.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the C.P.I. was unchanged in April after falling 0.1% in March. The energy index, which fell 3% in March, again eased, falling 2.4% in April. The indexes for motor fuel, fuel oil, natural gas and electricity all declined in April, according to the B.L.S. Over the past year, the index for energy has declined 25.2%.

Within the index for food at home, the sharpest month-over-month decline occurred in dairy and related products for the third straight month, falling 1.3% to 197.1. The decline follows losses of 2.4% in March, 2.4% in February and 1.3% in January. In total, the dairy index has declined 5.1% over the past year, according to the B.L.S.

The second sharpest decline occurred in nonalcoholic beverages, falling 1% to 163.1, followed by other food at home, which fell 0.8% to 190.8.

Cereal and bakery products eased 0.7% to 252.1, while food at home eased 0.6% to 215.9.

The index for meats, poultry, fish and eggs, which decreased 0.9% in March, was unchanged in April at 206.5. Also unchanged during the month was the index for fruits and vegetables, which finished at 275.8.

The other two components of the food and beverage index — food away from home and alcoholic beverages — rose 0.3% and fell 0.1%, respectively, the B.L.S. said.

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