The Rise and Fall of Product Prices in 2012

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Prices go up and prices go down, but this year they’re going every which way. While it’s difficult to predict how the economy will impact the cost of products and services, there are several sure bets on both ends of the scale. Here are a few predictions.

GOING UP

Orange Juice
The FDA discovered “low levels” of a fungicide in the 2011 orange crop imported from Brazil, the world’s largest produce of oranges.

Airfare
More people want to fly, but the airlines have trimmed their sales and are putting fewer planes in the air. Expect an increase between 3 percent and 10 percent worldwide.

Parking Rates and Tickets
Cash-strapped cities will try to boost their budgets by increasing city-imposed fees.

Gas
Did you enjoy that recent small reprieve from high gas prices? Well don’t get used to it; the U.S. Energy Information Administration predicts regular gas will average $3.45 this year.

Groceries
Rising energy costs, poor weather conditions, commodity prices and the lousy value of the U.S. dollar mean food is expected to increase 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent from 2011, according to the Consumer Price Index.

Mobile Data Plans
Kiss that unlimited data plan goodbye. Carriers are building up LTE and 4G services, which means your rates will rise.

Desktop Computers
You want a touchscreen? Then you’re going to have to pay a lot more for that luxury. The shortage of hard-drive materials, thanks to flooding in Thailand, is also a factor. Expect a boost of about 30 percent.

First-class Postage
Hopefully you stocked up on Forever Stamps before Jan. 22. The U.S. Post Service upped it’s first-class postage prices last weekend to the tune of a one-penny increase for regular mail; a three-cent increase on postcards and a five- to seven-cent increase for international letters.

 

GOING DOWN

Natural Gas
According to CNN Money, homeowners can heat their homes this winter without breaking the bank. Natural gas prices are the lowest they’ve been in years and, thanks to increased production and less demand, should fall even further.

Apple iPad 2
The release of the iPad3 will bring down the price of this much-lusted-after tablet.

Retail Shipping
The $1.07 billion in retail business occasioned by Free Shipping Day 2011 and the continued success of sister site FreeShipping.org indicate this trend should stick around for some time to come.

Corn, Wheat and Soybeans
Food prices in general are expected to rise, but prices on these commodities have plunged of late, thanks to massive stockpiles.

Car Rentals
Agencies are experiencing an excess of stock and more competition, which means lower car-rental rates throughout the year.

E-book Readers
Succeeding generations and competitors for Amazon’s Kindle have steadily reduced prices, sometimes by up to 60 percent.

Real Estate
Despite rock-bottom mortgage interest rates, the economy and unemployment will keep home prices at rock bottom, as well.

3D HDTVs
We’ll see a influx of new 3D TVs in 2012, which means big discounts on last year’s models.

GPS Units
Today’s smart phones can do nearly everything these days except cook your breakfast. As a result, they’re sending many competitors down the tubes, including stand-alone GPS units.

Wine
Wine Advocate publisher Robert Parker told Reuters the world is entering the “Age of the Buyer,” during which we’ll see stable or declining wine prices.

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Andrea Woroch is a consumer and money-saving expert for Kinoli Inc., and is available for in-studio, satellite and Skype interviews and to write guest posts or articles. As a nationally recognized media source, Andrea has been featured among top news outlets such as Good Morning America, NBC’s Today, MSNBC, New York Times, Kiplinger Personal Finance, CNNMoney and many more.

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