March Was A Historic Month For Food Inflation

The chart above shows the extreme rise in prices of food imported into the U.S. from other countries in March, according to data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics this morning.

“Prices for foods, feeds, and beverages rose 3.7 per cent in March, the largest monthly gain for the index since a 4.3-per cent increase in March 2011,” said the BLS in a press release. “The March 2014 advance was driven by a 14.0-per cent rise in fruit prices, the largest one-month increase for that index since the index was first published monthly in December 1993.”

Food inflation has become a big story this year as a confluence of factors have caused a broad surge in prices across the agricultural and livestock commodity complex. A fungus is spreading across coffee crops in South America, a debilitating virus is sweeping across the U.S. hog population, and geopolitical tensions in Russia and Ukraine are giving wheat prices a boost. Add in expectations for extreme weather, and you get an explosive cocktail of supply constraints pushing everything higher.

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