Soft Spots

How big a dent had the commodity price break made in the cost of living? Last week Ewan Clague, boss of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, called reporters into his chart-filled conference room to tell them. He had just finished collecting last-minute data, by telegraph, from twelve cities, kept his staff up most of the night assembling it. Said Clague: retail food prices have declined 3 to 4% from their alltime high of Jan. 13.

It was one of the sharpest breaks in the history of the index, but it was far from matching the drop of some 20% in...

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