Food Prices Are Down, Which Is A Good And Bad Thing

ECONOMIC NAVIGATION AND SIGHTSEEING

April 19, 2009|By JAY HANCOCK | JAY HANCOCK,jay.hancock@baltsun.com

The March consumer price stats came out from the Labor Department, showing a slight (0.1 percent) decrease from February's levels. Overall prices have been flat-lining or declining since last fall, when the bottom fell out of the economy. Much of the decline has been driven by energy, which we all know about.

But food prices have also started falling, as can be seen in numerous deals at the grocery store. Overall food prices dipped 0.1 percent in March for the second month in a row. The last time food prices fell in two consecutive months was in 1992, as the economy recovered from a recession.

As with most economic changes, lower food prices are mixed news. They'll help families. But they'll probably mean lower profits for farmers and grocery stores, and falling prices signal economic weakness.

The biggest decliners include ground beef (down 2 percent in a month), eggs (down 8 percent in two months) and milk (down 10 percent in two months).

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