C.P.I. for food and beverages up 0.5% in September

by Eric Schroeder
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WASHINGTON — The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers increased 0.3% in September, before seasonal adjustment, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor said. The September level of 208.5 was 2.8% higher than in September 2006. The index for food and beverages was 205.5 in September, up 0.5% from 204.5 in August.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the C.P.I. increased 0.3% in September. Within the overall C.P.I., energy costs stopped their slide, climbing 0.3% in September. Within energy, the index for petroleum-based energy increased 0.4%, while the index for energy services rose 0.1%.

The index for food at home continued its upward climb, rising 0.5% to 203.6.

The gain in food at home again was driven by a sharp increase in dairy products, as well as fruits and vegetables. Dairy products, which rose 1.7% in August, climbed 1% in September to 203.9. Within dairy, milk prices rose 0.9%, which followed a 1% gain in August, bringing the year-to-date increase to 19.3%.

The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs was 198.1, up 0.5% from August. Beef and poultry prices rose 1% and 0.9%, respectively, while the index for pork declined 1.1% in September. The index for eggs rose 8.7% in September and was 43.9% higher than a year ago.

After four consecutive months of declining prices, the C.P.I. for fruits and vegetables rebounded, gaining 1.8% to 261.9. The indexes for fresh vegetables and for fresh fruits rose 2.5% and 1.4%, respectively, the B.L.S. said, while the index for processed fruits and vegetables rose 1.2%.

The index for cereal and bakery products rose 0.4% to 224, while other food at home fell 0.2% to 174.2.

The index for nonalcoholic beverages, which rose 1.2% in August, was virtually unchanged in September.

The other two components of the food and beverage index — food away from home and alcoholic beverages — increased 0.5% and 0.1%, respectively, in September, the B.L.S. said.

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