Fresh Food

Producer Price Inflation Slowed—to 10%—Year Over Year in February

Wholesale beef and fresh vegetable prices moved lower in the month
Chicken at chicken farm
Photograph: Shutterstock

Inflation at the wholesale level in February was hot, but not as hot as it has been.

Producer prices were up 10% year over year in February—high, historically, and ahead of the 7.9% inflation at the consumer level last month, but lower than January's 12.8% rise in wholesale prices. 

Wholesale food prices climbed at a faster rate, rising 13.7% year over year and advancing 1.9% in February alone, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' latest producer prices report, released March 15.  

In the latest up-and-down for wholesale beef prices of late, beef and veal prices declined 3.6% month to month in February, although wholesale beef prices still stood nearly 23% higher than they were a year ago. Producer prices for fresh vegetables were down 9.4% from January. 

The biggest gainers in food during the month were eggs, with wholesale prices up 31% month over month and year over year, as well as oilseeds (up 9.2% in February alone after rising 8.7% in January), roasted coffee (up 9.1%), shortening and cooking oils (up 8.2% in February and 44% year over year) and frozen specialty food (up 5.8%). 

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Wholesale chicken prices, while advancing a modest 2.1% in February vs. January, were up more than 26% year over year. In comparison, pork prices rose 3.9% during the month but were up just 4.7% vs. the year-ago period. 

Throughout the economy, wholesale prices advanced o.8% month to month in February after jumping 1.2% in January from December. 

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