U.S Grocery Prices Have Skyrocketed By Largest Percentage in 46 Years

CNBC reported that the prices Americans paid for eggs, meat, cereal, and milk spiked in April as people rushed to grocery stores to stockpile food during the government shutdowns enacted to contain the spread of the Wuhan virus.

On May 12, 2020, the Labor Department reported that the prices paid for groceries spiked by 2.6 percent in April, the largest one-month increase since February 1974. The recent increase in supermarket prices was broad based and affected items from broccoli and ham to oatmeal and tuna.

The price of the meats, poultry, fish and eggs category surged 4.3%, fruits and vegetables swelled 1.5%, cereals and bakery products grew 2.9%, and dairy goods expanded 1.5%.

On the other hand, broader trends in U.S. prices show a 0.8% decrease in prices in April, which represented the largest one-month decrease since 2008 as a decline in oil and gasoline pulled the CPI number down.

“Food price gains were robust as we know there are empty shelves out there,” Peter Boockvar, chief investment officer at Bleakley Advisory Group, said in an email. “Demand we know in most areas of the economy has collapsed and prices are falling in response.”

When eliminating the volatile food and energy sector, the “core” CPI fell 0.4%, the largest slump that took place in 1957.

“In areas where demand has hung in, like ‘food at home’ we have inflation because the supply side has been damaged, whether directly via infected facilities or because of the higher costs of finding freight capacity,” Boockvar continued.