Despite recent grain crash, long term food $$ is on the rise

The contrarian in me is screaming that Reuters' recent piece on food prices is the food inflation equivalent to Businessweek's famous "Stocks are dead" headline from a 1982 issue. Yet another piece is whispering in my hear "baby, it ain't over yet!"

Perhaps it's a little from column A and a little from column B. Food prices have been going up for decades, so how is this any news that we've reached a 20 year high? The rate of inflation (the official BS one and the much higher one using the original formula) has essentially been depreciating peoples' buying power since the end of the Great Depression. Yet, it seems to me, since the latter third of the last century, the rate of growth for the price of food has been growing ever faster.

NEWSFLASH: Inflation Hits 17-year High!

To most on this site, this isn't exactly news, as many have been claiming that the price of goods and such have been rising. But now the dead tree press is, in a sense, making it official.

US consumer prices rose by 0.8 per cent in July, twice as fast as expected, damping hopes that falling crude oil prices and the slowing consumer demand would rapidly ease inflationary pressures.

The surprise jump in the consumer price index on a monthly basis was accompanied by an annual increase of 5.6 per cent, which was more than forecast and the largest jump since 1991.

Meanwhile, core prices – excluding food and energy costs – rose by 0.3 per cent, which was also higher than expected, amid sharp increases in the prices of apparel, tobacco and public transportation.

- excerpt from "US inflation at highest since 1991", Financial Times, 2008

More Fluff, No Stuff - Joint Economic Committee Meeting

When is our Congress going to kick those lobbyists to the curb and do the right thing? Don't hold your breath! The Joint Economic Committee held a hearing on July 23, entitled, How Much More Can American Families Be Squeezed By Stagnant Wages, Skyrocketing Household Costs, And Falling Home Prices?


Now from the title, one might wonder if the question is poised to Wall Street wondering just how much money is left to pilfer from the pockets of the middle class. Still, there is always good information and rhetoric in these hearings.


Result of the Fed's rate cuts: global inflation, US stagnation

University of Oregon economist Tim Duy is rapidly becoming one of my favorite reads. His insight into how loosey goosey low interest rates in the US have engendered blowback unforeseen by the Fed is a great example:

For my part, I am concerned that the Fed appears to have written off the dollar. My concern stems from rising international tensions - the Fed is dumping additional liquidity into the system at a time when most central banks are attempting to turn off the faucet. The Fed is implicitly, if not explicitly, relying on countries with fixed exchange rates to absorb that additional liquidity at the cost of inflation in those economies. Moreover, those economies with floating rates become the anti-Dollar bets.…

Real Weekly Wages Plunges in January

Real weekly wages plunges in January, down -1.4% yr/yr adding more stress to deeply indebted households

The BLS reported today that average seasonally adjusted weekly wages fell another -0.5% behind consumer price increases in January with wages now able to buy -1.4% less than they did one year ago. Weekly wages fell in four of the past five months since last August. Average real weekly wages are now again lower than they were in January 2002…and in January 1981 when the irresponsible debt and deregulation ideology took power.

wages plunge, comparison of Jan. 07 to Jan 08

Hours Worked Declined Sharply and Wages Fell

Today's BLS report: total hours worked DECLINED sharply in Q4 and AVERAGE real wage/benefit compensation per hour FELL.

After years of denial and spin about the financial condition of US households/consumers, you might think the newswires and salesmen on cable would be buzzing with the key findings in today’s BLS report on US hours worked, real compensation, output and productivity. You would be wrong; the debt industry’s misleading confidence game prevails with the key findings either not mentioned at all or they are relegated to an afterthought as space permits.

The key finding in today’s report is that the total number of hours worked (and paid) in non-farm businesses during 2007-Q4 FELL at an annual rate of -1.5%. Indeed, THE TOTAL NUMBER OF HOURS WORKED IN Q4 WAS LESS THAN IN 2006-Q4. The report shows total non-farm jobs also falling at a -0.5% annualized rate in Q4 and rising by only 0.4% yr/yr.

Manufacturing Jobs - US Wages Dramatic Decline

Along with the loss of -3.3 million Manufacturing jobs over the last seven years, a report just released by the BLS shows average hourly compensation for US Manufacturing jobs fell from the world’s 4th highest in 2000 to the world’s 14th highest in 2006. Japan’s Manufacturing jobs were the 2nd highest paid in 2000 but plunged to rank only 16th in 2006.