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Assortment of raw beef and pork pieces on wooden table

Meat retail prices rise slightly in February

Beef, pork and broiler complexes lower than year-ago levels.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics recently released Consumer Price Index (CPI) data for February, providing insight into the average change over time in the prices paid by urban consumers for various goods and services.

The overall CPI increased just 0.1%, the smallest one-month rise since July 2016. The 2.2% year-over-year increase in the core CPI, which strips out the more volatile food and energy categories, was the highest in five years. The food index rose 0.2% in February, following an increase of 0.1% in January.

“Looking at specific pork products, bacon, boneless chops and ham prices increased in February from the previous month, while bone-in chops fell 7.6% from January,” the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) noted. “All four products were below year-ago levels.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service also released the February "Meat Price Spreads" report, providing insight into relative prices paid by consumers for red meat and poultry. The beef, pork and broiler complexes all increased from January but were lower than year-ago levels, NPPC reported. Turkey prices, on the other hand, were lower than in January but more than 5% higher year over year.

“As a percent of beef prices, pork retail prices actually increased last month, indicating it is relatively less competitive in the retail meat case,” NPPC said.

The broiler composite remained steady as a percentage of beef prices, while turkey’s share decreased from January.

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