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Energy Prices, Weather, Driving Food Prices Up

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U.S. Agriculture officials suggest you brace yourself for a continued rise in food prices.

“We knew it was on its way. You couldn’t avoid it with the way that commodity prices had been rising, the way that energy prices had been rising.”

USDA Food Price Economist, Ephraim Leiptag  says, after looking at the latest consumer price index, March food prices overall shot up seven tenths of a percent. A pretty big one-month jump, which if that happened every month, he says we’d have food price inflation at almost 8 and half percent. Right now he’s forecasting overall food prices to be 3-4 percent higher than last year-grocery store prices up to 4 and half percent higher.

The question, he says, is how many more months will it be like this.

“Part of that has to do with what happens to commodity markets, do we see some leveling off, maybe some good crops and some good news, maybe some stability in the energy markets, or do we see additional increases.”

Leiptag upgrades his forecast for 2011 food prices this week.

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