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MORE EXPENSIVE PRODUCE PUSHES LOCAL GROCERY PRICES UP: ENERGY PRICES DOWN SLIGHTLY IN BALTIMORE AREA

 MORE EXPENSIVE PRODUCE PUSHES LOCAL GROCERY PRICES UP:
 ENERGY PRICES DOWN SLIGHTLY IN BALTIMORE AREA
 BALTIMORE, March 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Grocery prices in the Baltimore area, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), rose 0.6 percent in February, following a 0.3 percent increase the previous month, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.
 Alan M. Paisner, the bureau's regional commissioner, noted that higher priced fruits and vegetables alone caused the advance in overall retail food prices. Since February 1991, the food at home index for Baltimore City and the counties of Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford, Howard, and Queen Annes rose 1.9 percent.
 Prices for fruits and vegetables rose sharply in February, up 6.8 percent, the largest one-month increase in over two years, and were 2.5 percent higher since last February. Lower prices at the butcher counter, down 0.6 percent in February, somewhat moderated the rise. Cereals and bakery products were also less expensive in February, down 1 percent, yet remained 1.6 percent higher over the year. Prices for dairy products declined 0.4 percent over the month, but were still 1.3 percent higher than 12 months ago.
 The Baltimore food at home index stood at 140.6 on the 1982-84 base, which means that grocery shoppers in the Baltimore area would have had to spend $14.06 last month for a market basket of food items that cost $10 in 1982-84.
 A 1.7 percent decline in the price of motor fuel in February, the largest one-month decline since July 1991, contributed most to the 0.7 percent decrease in the energy index. Motor fuel prices were 4.2 percent lower than levels one year ago. Natural gas prices rose 1 percent in February and were 0.5 percent higher than 12 months ago. Electricity prices were unchanged since January. The energy index fell 1.6 percent over the year.
 CONSUMER PRICE INDEX FOR ALL URBAN CONSUMERS:
 BALTIMORE AREA, FEBRUARY 1992, NOT SEASONALLY ADJUSTED
 (1982-84 equals 100, unless otherwise noted)
 Index Percent
 GROUP Feb. change to Feb.
 1992 1992 from
 Jan. Feb.
 1992 1991
 Food at home 140.6 0.6 1.9
 Cereals and bakery products 163.0 -1.0 1.6
 Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs 130.4 -0.6 1.1
 Meats, poultry and fish 133.7 -0.1 2.1
 Dairy products 135.3 -0.4 1.3
 Fruits and vegetables 158.2 6.8 2.5
 Other foods at home 134.5 -0.1 2.7
 Energy 100.4 -0.7 -1.6
 Fuels 101.4 0.1 0.9
 Fuel oil 88.8 -0.3 -14.1
 Gas (piped) and electricity 115.3 0.3 4.1
 Electricity 125.5 0.0 5.3
 Utility (piped) gas 92.8 1.0 0.5
 Motor fuel 100.3 -1.7 -4.2
 Gasoline 99.0 -1.5 -3.7
 Gasoline, unleaded regular 96.7 -1.4 -3.8
 Gasoline, unleaded premium 101.3 -1.6 -3.6
 -0- 3/17/92
 /CONTACT: Michelle Weihmann (information), 215-596-1154, or Maureen Greene (media), 215-596-1157, both of the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics/ CO: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics ST: Maryland IN: HOU SU: ECO


LJ -- PH005 -- 8657 03/17/92 09:12 EST
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Date:Mar 17, 1992
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