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April 27, 2012


USDA expects moderation of meat price inflation


US meat price inflation is expected to moderate in 2012 after last year's surge, but will still drive forecasted increases in the government's overall index for food consumed at home, USDA revealed.


Meat prices - a component of the consumer price index for food at home - are forecast to rise 3.5 to 4.5% this year, after climbing 8.8% in 2011. Beef and veal prices are projected up 4.0 to 5.0%, while pork is seen up 3.0 to 4.0%.


In 2011, beef and veal prices jumped 10.2%, while pork rose 8.5%.


Poultry prices are forecast to rise 3.0 to 4.0% this year, compared to a 2.9% increase in 2011.


The cost of all food consumed at home is expected to rise 2.5% to 3.5%, after climbing 4.8% last year. Fruits and vegetables are the only food category expected to post price declines at the grocery store this year, USDA said.


Beef prices were up 0.8% in March alone, compared with February, and are 6.8% above last March, with steak prices up 7.3% and ground beef prices up 6.7%. Pork prices increased 0.7% in March and are 3.4% above last March's level.


Poultry prices increased 1.4% in March and are 6.5% above prices last year at this time, with chicken prices up 5.3% and other, poultry prices, including turkey, up 11.2%.


The food-at-home CPI increased 0.1% in March from February and is up 3.6% from last March.

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