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Inflation and the world price of poultry

The price of domesticated birds has soared high

Serving poultry at the global Thanksgiving dinner table is 20% more expensive than a year ago. Global food prices in general peaked in the middle of 2022. They’re coming down now, but they’re still 3% higher than they were a year ago.

The FRED graph above shows data on the global price of poultry (blue line) and food in general (red line). Notice that the source of the data, the International Monetary Fund, serves up each data series in a different unit: U.S. cents per pound of poultry and an index with a value of 100 in 2016 for the price of food overall.

Because poultry prices are nested in the broad category of food prices, it should come as little surprise that both price series took flight at the same time in the late part of 2020. However, the global prices of other types of food, such as shrimp, are now lower than a year ago and are contributing to the decline of the composite food price index.

That composition effect is at play at the Thanksgiving dinner table for an average urban consumer in the U.S. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, those serving poultry alongside meats, fish, and eggs are paying 8% more than last year.

Lastly, if you care for tofurkey, notice that although the global price of soybeans has risen alongside the price of poultry, a soybean-based dinner with the same amount of calories provided by turkey is 41% cheaper.

How this graph was created: In FRED, search for and select “Global price of Poultry.” Click “Edit Graph” at the top right corner and navigate to the “Add Line” tab. Search for “Global price of Food index” and click “Add data series.” Gobble, gobble.

Suggested by Diego Mendez-Carbajo.

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