Washington--The Agriculture Department raised its forecasts for retail prices of beef, pork and fresh vegetables in its monthly analysis of the federal government's consumer price index for food released Monday, but left its overall food-inflation forecast for 2011 unchanged at 3 percent to 4 percent.
Retail beef prices are forecast to jump 7 percent to 8 percent in 2011, up from the March forecast of 4.5 percent to 5.5 percent. USDA also projects retail pork prices to climb 6.5 percent to 7.5 percent, an increase of half a percentage point from March.
“I suspect when December arrives we will see increases of 4 to 6 percent” for the year in overall prices, said Bill Lapp, the president of Advanced Economic Solutions in Omaha, Neb. “The pressure on food prices is clearly on the upside.”