WASHINGTON (FNS) -- Wholesale prices for domestically grown and produced food in March increased a seasonally adjusted 0.1% against February, according to the Labor Department.
Compared to year-ago levels, food prices at the wholesale level were up 0.9% last month. The slight fluctuation in food prices overall occurred as wholesale prices for all manufactured goods jumped 1%, largely due to a sharp 5.8% gain in energy prices. This was the largest increase in energy prices since October 1990 when they leapt 7.5%. Energy prices also boosted producer prices on a year-ago basis, which surged 4%.
Minus energy, as well as food prices, the core rate of inflation in March increased a scant 0.1% against February. The wholesale price index is a measure of inflation at the producer level.
Among the food categories with significant price movement in March were fresh eggs, which declined 30.6% for the month and were off 21.8% from March 1999 levels. Wholesale prices for fresh fruit dipped 4.1% in March against February and were down 7.9% from year-ago levels, as prices gained 13.8% for fresh and dried vegetables during the month and were up 7% over the 12 months.
Beef and veal prices increased 1.8% in March against February and were up 8.8% from March 1999. Pork prices increased 2.2% for the month and were up 26.4% over the year. Processed chicken prices were up 1.6% in March against February and declined 6.1% over the 12 months. Fish prices dipped 4.7% for the month and were off 1.7 percent from year-ago levels.
Dairy product prices increased 1% for the month and were down 8% from March 1999. Wholesale prices for processed fruits and vegetables declined 0.1% during March and edged up 0.8% over the year. Roasted coffee prices increased 0.3% for the month and were up 2.9% from year-ago levels.