INFLATION: Just How High Is Up?

Every time the Agriculture Department tries to guess how high food prices will go this year, it gives consumers another nasty shock. The department started off last fall by predicting a 4½% rise, later raised its estimate to 12%. Last week it confessed that even that figure was too low; it now calculates that food prices for all of 1973 will average a devastating 20% higher than 1972, making this year's rise the steepest since 1947. And that puts the expectation conservatively; if the average for the whole year is that much higher, food prices at the end of...

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