Marketplace Scratch Pad

Wassup? Beer prices

Scott Jagow Aug 26, 2009

Not just beer, either. There are signs of bounce-back in prices in several markets. Then again, there are still plenty of bargains to be had. Let’s do an informal look at prices.

You can read more about beer prices here. It’s probably not a big deal and beer prices are fairly cyclical anyway, but let’s expand this out. How about food? From the New York Times:

Prices for beef, milk, eggs and some other grocery items have been dropping for several months, providing relief for consumers who suffered through the steep increases of a year ago. But prices are likely to start edging upward again as the economy recovers, according to a new federal report and economic analysts.

“The impact from lower energy prices on grocery store prices has largely been played out, and so we’re now looking at grocery store prices to rise modestly through the end of the year,” said Mark Vitner, a managing director and senior economist at Wells Fargo.

Alright, maybe an upward trend heading into 2010. But gas prices are probably not going up soon. From CNNMoney:

“Refiners are in limping mode from weak demand for fuel, and failed to pass on their higher crude oil prices in this period,” said survey publisher Trilby Lundberg. “It doesn’t seem likely they can recover that lost margin soon because our gasoline demand drops off next month, as it always does in September. So the gasoline glut is going to be deeper.”

Lundberg said demand remains relatively low compared to previous years “because our economy is still very sickly.”

And if you heat your homes with natural gas, those prices are around seven year lows, so winter heating might be a bargain too. Speaking of homes

In a convincing sign that the worst housing slump of modern times is coming to an end, prices are starting to rise in nearly all of the nation’s large cities…

Eighteen of the 20 cities tracked by Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller Home Price Index showed improvement in June, up from eight in May, four in April and only one in March.

“When I saw these numbers, I danced a jig,” said Karl E. Case, a co-developer of the index and an economics professor at Wellesley College. “It appears that the housing market is stabilizing quicker than people thought it would.”

I don’t know if I’d be dancing any jigs yet, but there’s the data. Another thing that’s going up, in part thanks to Cash for Clunkers, is used car prices:

Hundreds of thousands of “clunkers” headed for scrappers may cause already rising prices for used cars to head even higher, dealers and market analysts warn.

The popular cash-for-clunkers program, extended by Congress… requires that all the old fuel guzzlers traded in are scrapped — not resold. That means up to 750,000 vehicles will never find their way into the hands of another owner. Many are at the end of their useful lives, but others, with years of life left in them, normally would be resold.

“Those are the cars that lower-income families need,” says Geoff Smartt, owner of Smartt Cars in Caldwell, Idaho.

That argument was trumped by the environmental one.

Some other random pricing things: Sony just cut the price of Playstation 3. It appears Microsoft will do the same with the XBox 360. McDonald’s is bringing the dollar menu to breakfast in some cities.

So, wassup? Used cars, homes, maybe food and definitely beer:

Let me know if you’ve noticed any pricing trends or oddities.

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