C.P.I. for food and beverages again rises 0.6%

by Eric Schroeder
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WASHINGTON — The Consumer Price Index for food and beverages was 217.9 in September, up 0.6% from 216.8 in August, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor said. The gain followed a 0.6% advance in August and 0.9% gain in July. The index for All Urban Consumers, meanwhile, fell 0.1% in September, before seasonal adjustment. The September level of 218.8 was 4.9% higher than in September 2007.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the C.P.I. was virtually unchanged in September following a 0.1% decline in August. The energy index again took a hit, falling 1.9% in September after declining 3.1% in August. The motor fuel index fell 0.8%, but remains 31.8% higher than a year ago. The index for household energy fell 3.4% in September after falling 1.6% in August.

The index for food at home, which rose 1.2% in July and 0.8% in August, increased 0.6% in September to 219.2. The index was 7.6% higher than in September 2007.

Only two of the categories within food and beverages declined — dairy and related products, and fruits and vegetables; and several segments posted month-over-month gains of more than 1%.

The sharpest gain occurred in the index for cereal and bakery products, which followed up a decline of 0.1% in August by gaining 1.1% in September.

The index for meats, poultry, fish and eggs rose 1% to 209.5. The category has now risen at a 1% clip for the past three months. Within this category, the index for eggs increased 2.6% in September after a 5.7% decline in August. Meanwhile, the index for beef and veal decelerated, rising 0.2% in September after a 2.4% increase in August, the B.L.S. said.

The index for dairy and related products fell 0.6% to 214.1. The decline followed a gain of 0.4% in August and 1.6% in July.

Fruits and vegetables also eased, falling 0.5% to 290. The loss comes on the heels of month-over-month gains of 2.1% in August, 1.2% in July and 0.9% in June. The category is up 10.4% since September 2007.

Other food at home climbed 1.1% to 188.1.

The index for nonalcoholic beverages, which rose 0.4% in August, moved up 0.7% in September.

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

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