Meteoric rise in food prices slowed slightly in December – but prices are still up 10%
Food price increases slowed down in December, but still rose uncomfortably quickly at 10.4% above a year ago, federal data show.
Dallas, the Twin Cities, and Baltimore are suffering some of the country’s highest rates of inflation for food prices, which rose 14.1%, 13.7%, and 13.5% in those cities respectively, according to an Axios analysis.
By comparison, food prices rose just 7% in Washington DC, 7.7% in Chicago, and 8.8% in Miami, according to the report.
The latest consumer price index report showed that in December, inflation for groceries continued to be higher than for restaurants, with food at home rising 11.8%, and food away from home rising 8.3%.
Food price increases slowed down in December, but still rose uncomfortably quickly at 10.4% above a year ago, federal data show
Inflation for groceries continued to be higher than for restaurants, with food at home rising 11.8%, and food away from home rising 8.3%
Inflation rates for groceries hit a 40-year high of 13.5% in August, and have since moderated somewhat.
Driving the steep increases are rising energy and commodity prices, due to lingering effects from pandemic supply chain disruptions, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which sent world wheat prices soaring.
As well, an avian flu outbreak has sharply curtailed the national supply of eggs, sending prices soaring in 2022.
The national average price for a dozen grade A, large eggs soared to $4.25 in December – up nearly 140% from $1.79 one year ago, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
More than 43 million of the 58 million birds slaughtered over the past year to control the virus outbreak have been egg-laying chickens, including some farms with more than a million birds apiece in major egg-producing states like Iowa.
Wholesale egg prices have fallen somewhat in recent weeks, following the holiday baking surge, though it remains to be seen how much of that relief will translate to lower consumer prices.
The national average price for a dozen grade A, large eggs soared to $4.25 in December – spiking by almost 140% from $1.79 in the same month a year earlier
Restaurant prices also rose, though not as quickly as grocery prices
Last week, Senator Jack Reed sent a letter Tuesday asking for the Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether egg prices have been improperly manipulated by producers.
‘At a time when food prices are high and many Americans are struggling to afford their groceries, we must examine the industry´s role in perpetuating high prices and hold those responsible accountable for their actions,’ Reed, a Rhode Island Democrat, said in his letter to the FTC.
However, industry groups insist egg prices are largely determined by commodity markets, and experts say the bird flu outbreak is the real culprit for the price increases.
‘Current egg prices reflect many factors, most of which are outside the control of an egg farmer,’ Emily Metz, president and CEO of the American Egg Board trade group, told the Associated Press.
Other food staples also saw steep price increases over the past year, putting pressure on families as well as restaurants, cafes and bakeries.
Flour rose 23% in December from a year ago, while milk was up 12.5% and butter rose 31.4%.
Red meats rose more modestly at 2%, while poultry prices were up 12.2% due in part to the avian flu outbreak.
Inflation in the US slowed down once again last month, rising at an annual rate of 6.5%. It marked the sixth straight month that the annual inflation rate has decreased
Prices for energy and many goods moderated or even declined in December, while prices for food, services and housing continued to rise at an uncomfortable pace
December’s overall annual inflation rate of 6.5% marked the slowest annual pace for price increases since October 2021, and the the sixth straight month of declining overall annual inflation rates from June’s peak of 9.1%.
Prices for energy and many goods moderated or even declined in December, while prices for food, services and housing continued to rise at an uncomfortable pace.
The new report showed that used vehicle prices are declining rapidly, after soaring in 2021 and early 2022 due to a computer chip shortage that disrupted car manufacturing.
Used vehicle prices dropped 2.5 percent from November to December, and were down 8.8 percent from one year ago. New cars and trucks dropped slightly on the month, but remained up 5.9 percent from a year ago.
Falling energy prices also helped tame inflation last month, with overall energy costs declining 4.5 percent from November.
Regular gasoline dropped 2 percent on the month, and 12.8 percent from one year ago.
However, prices continued to increase in other key categories such as food and rent, though at a slower pace than they had risen earlier in 2022.