Food and beverage C.P.I. climbs 0.2% in December

by Eric Schroeder
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WASHINGTON — The Consumer Price Index for food and beverages increased 0.2% in December, climbing to 231.4 from 230.9 in November, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the Department of Labor. The gain followed advances of 0.1% in both November and October.

The food index also rose 0.2% in December after rising 0.1% in both November and October.

Four of the six major grocery store food groups increased during December, led by a 0.7% gain in meats, poultry, fish, and eggs, which rose to 228.8 from 227.2 in November. The gain came despite a decline in the index for eggs, the B.L.S. said.

Also advancing in December were the indexes for cereals and bakery products, which rose 0.3% to 267.4, and nonalcoholic beverages, which also climbed 0.3% to 169.7.

The index for other food at home advanced 0.4% to 201.8.

In contrast, the index for fruits and vegetables again finished lower, easing 0.5% after falling 0.6% in November and 1.7% in October. The B.L.S. said the fresh vegetables index continued to decline, falling 1.4% during December.

The index for dairy and related products fell 0.1% in December to 218.5. The index declined 0.3% in November.

The index for food at home followed up a 0.1% decline in November by climbing 0.3% in December. The index for food at home rose 6% in 2011 compared with 1.7% in 2010, and all six major grocery store food group indexes advanced in 2011, with increases ranging from 2.3% for fruits and vegetables, to 8.1% for dairy and related products.

The food away from home index rose 0.2% in December after rising 0.3% in November and rose 2.9% in 2011 after increasing 1.3% in 2010.

The overall Consumer Price Index was unchanged for the second consecutive month. The index now has increased 3% over the past 12 months.

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