Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Back to the 1970's: Food prices jump

I think one of the biggest under reported stories over the last three years has been the steady rise in food prices. Anyone who does their own shopping cannot miss the ever shrinking package sizes and price increases. Coffee prices alone have been shocking. Finally, the media seems to be noticing.
Associated Press: WASHINGTON (AP) -- Wholesale prices jumped last month by the most in nearly two years due to higher energy costs and the steepest rise in food prices in 36 years. Excluding those volatile categories, inflation was tame.
The Labor Department said Wednesday that the Producer Price Index rose a seasonally adjusted 1.6 percent in February -- double the 0.8 percent rise in the previous month. Outside of food and energy costs, the core index ticked up 0.2 percent, less than January's 0.5 percent rise.
Food prices soared 3.9 percent last month, the biggest gain since November 1974. Most of that increase was due to a sharp rise in vegetable costs, which increased nearly 50 percent. That was the most in almost a year. Meat and dairy products also rose.
Energy prices rose 3.3 percent last month, led by a 3.7 percent increase in gasoline costs. [MORE]
Now that the media seems to be catching on, perhaps those in Washington and Wall Street will begin to notice and stop saying stupid stuff like this:
The Wall Street Journal: The Federal Reserve has been on a media campaign to sell its monetary policy to average Americans, but this hasn't always gone smoothly. Witness last week's visit to Queens, New York, by New York Fed President William Dudley, who got a street-corner education in the cost of living.
The former Goldman Sachs chief economist gave a speech explaining the economy's progress and the Fed's successes, but come question time the main thing the crowd wanted to know was why they're paying so much more for food and gas. Keep in mind the Fed doesn't think food and gas prices matter to its policy calculations because they aren't part of "core" inflation.

So Mr. Dudley tried to explain that other prices are falling. "Today you can buy an iPad 2 that costs the same as an iPad 1 that is twice as powerful," he said. "You have to look at the prices of all things."
Reuters reports that this "prompted guffaws and widespread murmuring from the audience," with someone quipping, "I can't eat an iPad." Another attendee asked, "When was the last time, sir, that you went grocery shopping?"
Between Quantitative Easing and our incredibly foolish energy policy Americans are about to be transported back to the 1970's.  The truly sad part is the trip could have been avoided with just a little common sense.

Via: Memeorandum
Via: Associated Press
Via: The Wall Street Journal


Just Me said...

We knew it was coming.

We have been growing all of our fruits & vegetables for 2 years now. There are now at least 6 people in our neighborhood who have done the same. It's kinda fun as we all now barter & trade with each other.

We also recently purchased a hunting rifle and are in process of setting up a coop for chicken & quail.

A southern boy (girl) can survive! ;-)

Just a conservative girl said...

My kids like spaghetti o's so as I treat I give it to them once in a while. I used to use one can for both of them for under a dollar. The can is so much smaller now I have to use two cans and it is $1.20 per can.

Steverino said...

The number to watch is the year-over-year figure. That smooths out the volatility of food and energy costs.

The year-over-year PPI increase was 5.6%, a huge jump.

Clifton B said...

Just Me:

Excellent! I wish I did not live in the city with a puny backyard, I would be growing my own veggies too. As far a hunting meat goes, I can totally forget about that in the city.

What I wish I could do is safely stock up on gasoline. Better to buy it now at $3 and change than to keep paying the higher prices.

Clifton B said...


Those shrinking packages drive me crazy. The manufacturers are so damn crafty, they just shrink the contents ever so slightly that it is weeks before you realize you are paying the same price for less.

I swear if ice cream gets any smaller I am not even going to bother buying it anymore.

Clifton B said...


Even without the year over year figures, it has been impossible to miss the price increases on everything. It seems lately the increases are coming much more rapidly.

Anonymous said...

Gas is 3.80 here in New York. Glad I ride around in a scooter that goes 60 miles per gallon...

2nd Anonymous

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