Consumer prices are still rising at a rate below the Fed's 2% annual target but they're creeping higher, weighing on households already under pressure from stagnant incomes.
Consumer prices in March rose 0.2%, or 1.5% over the past 12 months, largely because food prices are climbing. Food prices were up 0.4% in March -- but three times as much for just meat, poultry fish and eggs. On an annualized basis that selective food index was up 5.1%. Beef prices alone are at a 27-year high.
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"The rising cost in beef prices and pork prices [is what] really drives these rising food costs," says Christopher Waldrop, director of the Food Policy Institute at the Consumer Federation of America.
Like most higher price trends, it's a matter of supply and demand. The 2012 drought in Texas and California resulted in higher feed prices, which caused many farmers to reduce their herds that produce beef. The U.S. cattle herd is the smallest it's