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January 1982, Vol. 105, No. 1
Large supplies of meats, grains
cut recent food price increases
William Thomas, John Wetmore and Andrew Clem
Food price increases accelerated to double-digit rates in 1978 and 1979, slowed somewhat through early 1980, then rose sharply during the second half of the year because of a severe summer drought. Price hikes were much more moderate through the first half of 1981, primarily reflecting the large output and lower feed costs of meat and poultry producers. However, increases accelerated again during June-September 1981, spurred by an upturn in meat prices.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) for food rose at a 4.5-percent seasonally adjusted annual rate during the first 6 months of 1980, then surged at a 16.3-percent pace for the rest of the year. In the first half of 1981, however, food prices at retail edged up at a 1.0-percent annual rate. Price increases accelerated from June to September, as the CPI for foods recorded a 10.9-percent yearly rate of advance. (See table 1.) At the producer level, food prices declined somewhat in the first half of 1980, then rebounded at a 16.9-percent annual rate during the second half. From December 1980 to September 1981, the Producer Price Index for finished consumer foods slowed to a 3.0-percent yearly pace.
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