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The Ghost of CPI Future

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Ever since I read the sentence in David Pimental’s study – that it takes 10 petrocalories to produce one calorie of food – I’ve been wondering when food prices would reflect the fivefold increase in the cost of a barrel of oil we’ve experienced thus far this millennium. And then I began to wonder how the prices of other raw materials used to produce the end products we consume might also affect my wallet, and be reflected in inflation statistics.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that for the twelve months ended November 2007, the CPI is 4.3%. The CPI, unlike inflation, includes food and fuel, and is one of the most widely used indicators of inflation.

How does 4.3% square with what’s flying out of your wallet each time you visit the gas pump and grocery store? While we wait with baited breath for the ‘official’ 2007 numbers to be spat out next week, here are some harbingers of things to come (source: Pink Sheet published by the World Bank, January 8, 2008.)

Percentage changes were calculated using annual average prices for 2005-2007:

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Coal, up 38%
Crude oil, up 34%
Coffee, up 71%
Soybean meal, soybean oil, soybeans, up 43%, 62%, and 40%
Corn, up 66%
Sorghum, up 69%
Wheat, hard and soft, up 68% and 76%
Rubber, up 49%
Aluminum, up 39%
Copper, up 93%
Lead, up 164%
Nickel, up 153%
Tin, up 97%
Zinc, up 135%

These commodities prices reflect the price of raw materials used to produce everything we consume. Caveat Emptor.

 

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Former VP at Citigroup, BBA, MBA. Currently a whole diet farmer in VA, watching with incredulity the country giving Bush and Obama passes on their war crimes for the past 16 years. We all share responsibility for where we are and need to heal (more...)
 

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