Food prices may have only begun to rise

The last time grocery-store customers stared at prices with such dismay was in the 1970s, when inflation was moving as fast as the numbers on a cash register. This summer the drought has sent food prices leaping again, even though inflation in the rest of the economy remains at tolerable levels. The Government said last week that during July the Consumer Price Index rose 0.4%, an annual rate of 5.2%. But the subindex for food and beverages jumped 0.9%, raising the possibility of double-digit inflation at the supermarket. Among the hardest hit in July: fruits and vegetables (4.7%), poultry (7.4%) and...

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