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Consumers could see lower food, gas prices

Updated: November 16, 2011 9:29AM

Consumers may catch a break on the price of gasoline and baked goods and sweets as the Thanksgiving-Christmas season approaches, thanks to a sudden tumble in worldwide commodity markets.

The consumer price outlook has brightened, in part, because commodity speculators have fled the energy and grain markets in the face of fears of a global recession triggered by the European debt crisis, says Tomm Pfitzenmaier of Summit Commodity Brokerage.

What’s happening:

Crude oil has fallen from more than $100 a barrel just before Memorial Day to less than $76 Tuesday.

Flour prices have risen more than 50 percent this year. But they should fall in coming months, as the price of wheat has tumbled 25 percent since last summer, according to the Chicago Board of Trade.

The price of cocoa is down about 15 percent from record levels since midsummer, raising the possibility that manufacturers’ costs for making chocolate might ease.

Not all the consumer price news is good, especially for beef eaters. Food prices rose in August, according to the latest U.S. government report.

Prices for hamburger and choice beef cuts have risen 15 to 20 percent this year, according to the USDA.

Gannett News Service

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