Food Prices Expected to Rise Sharply

Brian A. Shactman
CNBC

Everyone is waiting for inflation.

Corn is up 45 percent the last three months. We haven’t seen cotton prices this high since after the Civil War. Soybeans are up. Oil is up. Metals are up. So are coffee and cocoa.

In this era of massive liquidity, everything is up, except for food prices—specifically processed food (made from many of the same commodities and other ingredients whose prices have risen).

According to the USDA, that is going to change. In its most recent CPI report for food, the USDA reported that prices are expected to rise in 2011.

For all food, prices are expected to rise two to three percent, which is double the levels of 2010. Meat prices are expected to rise up to 3.5 percent, and dairy 5.5 percent.

“The forecast for 2011, that remains unchanged, but it’s moving to the higher part of that range,” said Ephraim Leibtag, who serves as a senior economist for the USDA and out together the report. He added, “The potential to go above that is more likely if current commodity price increases remain where they are or rise even more.”

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