C.P.I. for food, beverages boosted by various gains

by Eric Schroeder
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WASHINGTON — The Consumer Price Index for food and beverages was 215.5 in July, up 0.9% from 213.6 in June, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor said. The gain, which followed a 0.7% advance in June and 0.3% gain in May, was buoyed by better than 1% gains in five of the six major grocery store food groups. Meanwhile, the index for All Urban Consumers advanced 0.5% in July, before seasonal adjustment. The July level of 219.9 was 5.6% higher than in July 2007.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the C.P.I. advanced 0.8% in July, which followed a 1.1% increase in June. Again spurring the improvement was a sharply increasing index for energy, which rose 4% in July, accounting for about half of the overall increase in the all items index.

The index for food at home, which rose 1% in June, increased 1.2% in July to 216.2. The index was 7.1% higher than in July 2007.

Leading the charge was the index for cereal and bakery products, which followed up a 0.5% gain in June by climbing 1.8% in July to 249.2. The category was 12.1% higher than in July 2007.

The index for fruits and vegetables also remained strong, rising 1.2% in July after gaining 2.8% in June. The category was 10.1% higher than in July 2007. Within the category, the fresh fruits index was virtually unchanged in July, while the index for fresh vegetables rose 2.9%.

The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs, which rose 0.8% in June, advanced 1% in July to 205.4.

For the second straight month, the index for dairy products rose 1.6%, finishing at 214.5. The index for milk increased 4.3% during the month.

Other food at home climbed 1% to 184.9.

The index for nonalcoholic beverages, which rose 0.2% in June, moved up 0.7% in July.

The other two components of the food and beverage index — food away from home and alcoholic beverages — increased 0.6% and 0.4%, respectively, the B.L.S. said.

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