Food and soft drinks inflation in the US cooled again in October on an annualised basis but ticked up in terms of monthly comparisons.

The food index, including non-alcoholic beverages and covering in-home and out-of-home consumption, rose 3.3% last month, compared to 3.7% in September, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today (14 November). The gauge was up 4.3% in August.

Month-on-month, those same price categories climbed 0.3% versus a 0.2% increase in September, after holding at that rate in the previous two months.

Headline inflation also eased again, with the all-items consumer price index rising at an annualised pace of 3.2%, slowing from September’s 3.7% rate. The gauge was unchanged on a monthly basis against 0.4% the prior month.

Figures out of the US follow the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations’ monthly release of its measure of global food commodity prices, issued earlier in November.

The FAO’s index of five commodities dropped 10.9% in October, remaining at the lowest level since March 2021, according to the UN’s records. The gauge was down almost 25% from the all-time high reached in March last year.

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The US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ measure of grocery inflation – the food-at-home index including soft drinks – climbed an annualised 2.1% in October, retreating from September’s 2.4% pace.

Under individual components of that index, bakery and cereals prices rose 4.2% and non-alcoholic beverages were up 3.3%. Meat, poultry, fish and eggs prices were 0.4% higher than 12 months earlier, while fruit and vegetables edged up 1.1%. Dairy fell 0.4%.

The food-at-home index increased 0.3% on a monthly basis, up from 0.1% in September. Prices for meat, poultry, fish and eggs rose 0.7%, while dairy was up 0.3% and bakery and cereals 0.2%. The cost of fruit and veg was flat from a month earlier and soft drinks prices fell 0.1%.

Eating out in the US became less costly in October, with away-from-home index prices rising 5.4%, slowing from 6% in September and 6.5% in August. In monthly terms, costs rose 0.4%, matching the rate the previous month.

The UK is due to issue its October inflation figures tomorrow. While food and non-alcoholic beverages prices eased back in the UK in September, they remained almost three times as high in the US – 12.1% on an annualised basis compared to 13.6% in August.