School lunch, eggs and airfare: Why inflation soared for 10 items in 2022

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  • Inflation in 2022 hit its highest level in four decades, according to the consumer price index.
  • The prices of some goods, such as school meals, eggs, margarine and heating oil, rose more sharply. That’s why.

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Inflation jumped in 2022 to levels not seen in four decades.

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But the prices of some goods rose faster than others, mainly food, fuel and airline tickets.

Some of these fluctuations were driven by external factors beyond broad inflationary pressures, such as confusing supply chains, labor shortages, rising consumer demand and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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Here’s a look at the 10 items with the biggest price increases, measured by December’s annual inflation rate. The percentages are taken from the latest CPI data released on Thursday.

Food at school: 305.2%

Food prices in primary and secondary schools have risen the most in 2022, by a whopping 305%.

In the early days of the pandemic, the federal government enacted a program offering free meals to all public school students, regardless of family income. This program, which expanded on the existing program for low-income families, ended September 30th.

Overall, food prices have also come under pressure on many fronts, including school meals.

For example, the corresponding annual inflation rates for groceries and eating out reached 13.5% in August and 8% for highest since 1971 and 1981 respectively.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has caused an energy shock, driving up transport costs to get food from farm to table. This, combined with other factors such as higher labor costs, has contributed to the rapid rise in prices throughout the food complex.

“Food inflation has been crazy,” said Tim Mahedi, senior economist at KPMG. "We have not seen [these levels] consistently valid for decades."

Eggs: 59.9%

In 2022, the United States experienced the deadliest avian flu outbreak in history.

The disease, commonly known as bird flu, is highly contagious and deadly to birds. He killed tens of millions of laying hens, resulting in a shortage of eggs. Egg prices rose by 59.9% mainly due to reduced egg stocks.

“This is a supply disruption, a bit of a natural disaster,” Brian Moskogiuri, global trade strategist at Eggs Unlimited, an egg supplier based in Irvine, California, told CNBC earlier.

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Margarine: 43.8%

Global turmoil in major markets for vegetable oil, a key ingredient in margarine, has driven margarine prices up 43.8% in 2022.

The prices of commodities such as soybean, palm, sunflower and rapeseed (also known as rapeseed) oil tend to move together, meaning supply disruptions for one of them tend to affect the group, economists said.

For example, Ukraine is the #1 global producer and exporter of sunflower oil. The war had squeezed supplies there.

In addition, Indonesia accounts for more than half of the world's palm oil production; the country introduced a temporary export ban last year and other restrictions such as an export tax. A severe drought in Canada, the world's largest exporter of rapeseed oil, has reduced supplies. And soybean yields in Brazil have fallen due to weather conditions.

Fuel oil (41.5%) and motor fuels (32.3%)

When crude oil prices jumped in the first half of the year, so did the by-products of its refining.

Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine began on February 24. By March 8, a barrel of crude reached its highest inflation-adjusted price since 2014 amid concerns about the impact of the war on supply. according to to the US Energy Information Administration.

“It caused a jump in everything related to energy,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics.

However, in the second half of the year, oil prices declined due to growing fears of a possible recession and the associated decrease in oil demand.

Gasoline prices also fell, falling by 1.5% at the end of the year. But prices for other petroleum products have not fallen as sharply. Fuel oil and other motor fuels such as diesel increased by 41.5% and 32.3% respectively by the end of the year.

Butter (31.4%) and other dairy products (21.4%)

The decline in world milk production among major producers such as Australia, the European Union and New Zealand has led to lower prices for butter and other dairy products.

Monthly milk production among the main suppliers fell every month from September 2021 to June 2022, according to to the US Department of Agriculture.

“They are all under a lot of pressure in terms of affordable milk supplies,” Amy Smith, vice president of Advanced Economic Solutions, a food economics consulting firm, said of the dairy complex.

U.S. production has been solid, boosting exports to close the gap. U.S. dairy exports are up 5% from 2022 to October compared to the same period in 2021, according to the USDA. data. According to economists, oil exports grew by 43% during this time, which led to a decrease in the supply of oil in the country.

More Russia and Ukraine main suppliers wheat. Economists say the war has affected the supply of grain, raising animal feed prices and farming costs.

Butter prices increased by 31.4% by the end of 2022. Other dairy products (except milk, cheese and ice cream) went up by 21.4%.

Airline fares: 28.5%

Airfare rose nearly 29% in 2022 as consumers with enough cash unleashed years of pent-up travel passion.

This demand has led to a shortage of pilots in the aviation industry, many of whom were fired or retired early in the pandemic. jet fuel cost surge and airlines flew fewer routes. These factors have reduced the supply of air seats, economists say.

“People have shifted their spending away from goods to travel, restaurants and ball games,” Zandi said. "The planes are full."

However, in October, November and December, average tariffs began to decline.

Salad: 24.9%

An insect-borne According to KPMG's Mahedi, the virus "raging" in California's Salinas Valley growing region has caused lettuce prices to skyrocket in 2022.

Referred to as "America's salad bowl", this region accounts for about half of US lettuce production. according to Aaron Smith, professor of agricultural economics at the University of California, Davis.

Russia is also the world's largest fertilizer exporter. Fertilizer prices, one of the biggest expenses for farmers, hit an all-time high in the spring of 2022 following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. according to to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

According to Zandi, the rise in prices has "significantly affected" the prices of vegetables and fruits.

Flour: 23.4%

Ukraine and Russia are major wheat exporters. These countries accounted for 28% of all exports in the world in 2021, according to in USDA.

The war led to uncertainty about export volumes and the impact on the spring planting season, causing prices to skyrocket. According to Smith, the price dynamics was influenced by flour, which is ground from wheat.

Credit: www.cnbc.com /

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