C.P.I. for food and beverages up 0.4% in August

by Eric Schroeder
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WASHINGTON — The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers declined 0.2% in August, before seasonal adjustment, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor said. The August level of 207.9 was 2% higher than in August 2006. The index for food and beverages was 204.5 in August, up 0.4% from 203.7 in July.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the C.P.I. declined 0.1% in August, the first drop since a 0.4% decrease in October 2006. Within the overall C.P.I., energy costs declined for the third consecutive month, falling 3.2% in August. Within energy, the index for petroleum-based energy fell 4.6%, while the index for energy services declined 1.3% behind a 4.2% decline in the index for natural gas.

The index for food at home continued its upward climb, rising 0.4% to 202.6.

The gain in food at home again was driven by a sharp increase in dairy products, which rose 1.7% in August to 201.9. Within dairy, milk prices rose 1%, which followed a 6.4% gain in July, bringing the year-to-date increase to 18%.

The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs was 197, up 0.1% from July. Beef prices, which declined 0.7% in July, rose 0.1% in August. The indexes for poultry and for pork increased 0.2% and declined 0.8%, respectively. The index for eggs rose 2.4% in August and was 34.9% higher than a year ago.

The C.P.I. for fruits and vegetables declined for the fourth consecutive month, falling 0.2% in August to 257.3. An increase of 1% in fresh fruits and a gain of 0.3% in processed fruits and vegetables was more than offset by a decline of 1.7% in the index for fresh vegetables, the B.L.S. said.

The index for cereal and bakery products rose 0.4% to 223, while other food at home rose 0.1% to 174.6.

The index for nonalcoholic beverages, which fell 0.1% in July, rose 1.2% in August.

The other two components of the food and beverage index — food away from home and alcoholic beverages — increased 0.4% and 0.3%, respectively, in August, the B.L.S. said.

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