Companies struggle to absorb rising commodity costsEven as the prices of several major commodities continue to rise, U.S. merchants are reluctant to pass the price hikes onto their customers.

Prices are soaring on everything from oil to wheat to coffee, but many store owners and corporate executives are trying hard to absorb the increases themselves without raising the prices of their wares, BusinessWeek reports.

"We don't think it's prudent of us to plan on [price hikes] in this environment," ConAgra Foods CEO Gary Rodkin told the magazine, even as his company reported that inflation exceeded cost savings last quarter.

Most major air carriers are also struggling to absorb rising fuel costs without charging travelers more. According to BusinessWeek, domestic airfares are actually falling - despite sharp increases in the price of oil and other jet fuel components.

According to the U.S. Producer Price Index, the cost of the most popular commodities used by U.S. companies rose 2.7 percent from June to July and another 2.3 percent from July to August.

Still, for many companies, an eventual price hike may be inevitable. For example, the popular coffeehouse chain Starbucks has recently announced that it will be raising the price of several of its more "labor intensive" drinks to help offset the rising price of coffee beans. 
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