Where’s the Beef Prices?

01/16/2022 12:00am

Not sure if that one will make it as a fast-food ad, and then a campaign slogan, but it is a line we should be using. The media made a big deal of the run-up in beef prices last year, which actually began in 2020. (Beef prices were 6.4 percent higher in January of 2021 than in January of 2020.)

However, it seems that beef prices have turned the corner. At the consumer level, they fell 2.0 percent in December. More importantly, they have fallen sharply at the producer level, with the wholesale price falling sharply in October and again last month. The wholesale price of beef in December was 18.6 percent below its September level.

Beef prices are highly erratic, so it’s possible that these declines will be reversed, but if they are not, and they show up at the consumer level, the media should be giving the drop in beef prices the same sort of attention they gave to the rise in beef prices.

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