Friday, October 12, 2007

Energy prices are putting cost pressure on food and consumer goods

No surprise here.

Last week the Austin American-Statesman reported that rising grain and energy prices are pushing up the bills for groceries for two reasons: 1) as energy prices go up, it becomes more expensive to produce food because of the petroleum and natural gas that goes into fertilizers, pesticides and mechanized agriculture, and 2) our fetish for ethanol is pushing up grain prices and consequently feed prices are higher.

Today, the New York Times is reporting that higher energy costs are pushing up producer prices for goods other than food, primarily becuase the cost of the raw materials (e.g. crude oil for plastics, etc.) have increased.

These higher prices come at an inopportune time for the markets, but might help the U.S. transform its economy into one that emphasizes resource efficiency.