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Food Prices Climb 7.9%, Biggest Jump Since 1981

Gabriel T. Rubin reported on the front page of Friday’s Wall Street Journal that, “Rising energy, food and services prices pushed already elevated U.S. inflation to a 7.9% annual rate last monthanother four-decade high—with oil and commodity market disruptions from the Ukraine crisis expected to add more cost pressures.”

Rubin noted that, “Higher energy prices, including gasoline price increases, helped push up the inflation reading, along with cost gains for groceries, restaurant food, transportation services and apparel, the Labor Department said on Thursday.”

“Prices climbed 7.9% in February compared with last year, with war in Ukraine likely to push inflation even higher,” by Rachel Siegel. The Washington Post (March 11, 2022).

Also in Friday’s Journal, David Harrison reported that, “Grocery prices have been climbing sharply since last spring and in February were 8.6% above the year before. The price of restaurant meals was up 6.8%. Economists say the rise is due to higher demand, supply-chain disruptions and bad weather. Since Ukraine and Russia account for much of the world’s exports of wheat, fertilizer ingredients and vegetable oil, it’s likely food prices will continue to rise, economists say.”

“February Inflation Was Broader Than Gas Prices,” by David Harrison. The Wall Street Journal (March 11, 2022).

Washington Post writer Rachel Siegel reported on the front page of Friday’s paper that, “Flanked by fellow Republicans, [Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) said during a news conference Thursday that] higher prices have hammered farmers in her state, who saw the cost of fertilizer spike by about 200 percent.”

All six major grocery categories became more expensive in February compared with the month before. The index for meat, poultry, fish and eggs increased 1.2 percent. Measures for cereals and bakery products rose 1.1 percent,” the Post article said.

Siegel added that, “Hotels (up 29 percent), furniture (17.1 percent), chicken (13.2 percent) and new cars and trucks (12.4 percent) saw their largest annual price increases on record.”

And Bloomberg writer Olivia Rockeman reported on Thursday that, “Food prices climbed 1% from the prior month, the largest advance since April 2020, the CPI report showed. Compared with February last year, the 7.9% jump was the biggest since 1981.”

Keith Good Photo

Keith Good is the Farm Policy News editor for the farmdoc project. He has previously worked for the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, and compiled the daily News Summary from 2003-2015. He is a graduate of Purdue University (M.S.- Agricultural Economics), and Southern Illinois University School of Law.

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