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

by Eric Schroeder
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WASHINGTON — The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers increased 0.6% in May, before seasonal adjustment, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor said. The May level of 207.9 was 2.7% higher than in May 2006. The index for food and beverages was 202.2 in May, up 0.3% from 201.6 in April.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the C.P.I. increased 0.7% in May, following up a 0.4% advance in April. Within the overall C.P.I., energy costs, which advanced 2.4% in April, rose 5.4% in May. Within energy, the index for petroleum-based energy rose 9.8%, while the index for energy services declined 0.2%.

The index for food at home continued its upward climb, rising 0.4% to 200.3.

The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs was 196.6, up 1.2% from April and the third consecutive month of stronger numbers. The indexes for pork and for other meats rose in May after declining in April, advancing 2% and 0.8%, respectively. Poultry prices climbed 0.8%, while beef prices slowed from their recent trend, gaining 0.1%. Through the first five months of 2007, beef prices have risen 5.1%, poultry prices 4.3%, and pork prices 3.4%.

The C.P.I. for fruits and vegetables, which rose 0.4% in April, eased 0.5% in May.

The indexes for fresh vegetables and for processed fruits and vegetables declined 1.8% and 0.3%, respectively, while the index for fresh fruits rose 0.7%, the B.L.S. said.

A month after gaining 0.9%, the index for cereal and bakery products was virtually unchanged, the B.L.S. said.

The indexes for dairy products increased 0.5% as a 2.2% increase in milk prices more than offset a 0.4% decline in prices for cheese.

The index for other food at home was basically unchanged.

The index for nonalcoholic beverages rose 0.9%, largely reflecting an upturn in prices for carbonated beverages and for coffee.

The other two components of the food and beverage index — food away from home and alcoholic beverages — both increased 0.2% in May, B.L.S. said.

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