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Economy in Brief

U.S. Producer Prices Rise Minimally
by Tom Moeller  May 9, 2018

The headline Final Demand Producer Price Index using new methodology edged 0.1% higher (2.6% y/y) during April following an unrevised 0.3% rise in March. A 0.2% increase had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. The PPI excluding food & energy increased an expected 0.2% (2.3% y/y) after a 0.3 gain. An updated measure of core producer price inflation (the overall index excluding food, energy and trade services) ticked 0.1% higher following three consecutive months of 0.4% increase. Prices for this index rose 2.5% y/y and backed away from the 2.9% peak rate of increase logged in March.

Using the old methodology for the Producer Price Index, prices eased 0.1% (+2.4% y/y) following a 0.2% gain. Excluding food & energy, the index increased 0.3% (1.9% y/y) after a 0.2% rise.

Final demand goods prices were unchanged (2.9% y/y) after a 0.3% increase. The goods price index excluding food & energy gained an elevated 0.3% (2.1% y/y) for the fifth month in the last seven.

Food prices fell 1.1% (-0.3 y/y) in April, after a 2.2% upward spurt. The decline reflected a 6.0% fall (+0.5% y/y) in beef & veal prices as well as a 0.1% slip (-2.8% y/y) in pork prices. Fresh fruit costs fell 1.8% (-17.5% y/y), off sharply for the third straight month. Dairy product prices eased 0.2% (-1.4% y/y). Energy prices rose 0.1% (9.0% y/y) following three straight months of decline. Gasoline prices fell 0.4% (14.8% y/y) after sharp declines in three of the prior four months. Working the other way, home heating oil prices rebounded 4.7% (26.4% y/y) after a 10.1% decline. Natural gas prices eased 0.5% (+0.8% y/y) and electric power costs declined 0.5% (+1.1% y/y).

Nondurable consumer goods prices less food & energy increased 0.6% (3.7% y/y) after a 0.2% rise. Durable consumer goods prices inched 0.1% higher (1.0% y/y) following a 0.4% rise. Passenger car prices held steady (-1.7% y/y) and light truck prices slipped 0.1% (0.4% y/y). Private capital equipment prices improved 0.1% (1.0% y/y) after strengthening 0.3%. Manufacturing capital equipment costs rose 0.2% (1.7% y/y) for the third time this year, while nonmanufacturing capital equipment prices improved 0.1% (0.7% y/y) following a 0.3% strengthening.

Final demand for services prices improved 0.1% (2.4% y/y) after three months of strong increase. Prices less trade, transportation & warehousing eased 0.1% (2.4% y/y) after three straight months of strong increase. Trade services costs increased 0.2% (1.9% y/y). Transportation and warehousing prices rose 0.6% (4.7% y/y) for a second straight month.

Final demand construction prices jumped 1.1% (4.2% y/y) after a 0.2% gain. Private capital investment construction prices surged 1.0% (4.2% y/y) after a 0.3% rise. Government costs jumped 1.2% (4.2% y/y) after a 0.1% dip.

Prices for intermediate demand goods rebounded 0.5% (4.7% y/y) following a 0.3% decline.

The PPI data are contained in Haver's USECON database with further detail in PPI and PPIR. West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil prices are found in the WEEKLY database while the expectations figures are available in the AS1REPNA database.

Producer Price Index (SA, %, New Methodology) Apr Mar Feb Apr Y/Y 2017 2016 2015
Final Demand 0.1 0.3 0.2 2.6 2.3 0.4 -0.9
   Excluding Food & Energy 0.2 0.3 0.2 2.3 1.9 1.2 0.8
   Excluding Food, Energy & Trade Services 0.1 0.4 0.4 2.5 2.1 1.2 0.6
   Goods 0.0 0.3 -0.1 2.9 3.3 -1.4 -4.3
      Foods -1.1 2.2 -0.4 -0.3 1.2 -2.8 -2.6
      Energy 0.1 -2.1 -0.5 9.0 10.4 -8.4 -20.6
    Goods Excluding Food & Energy 0.3 0.3 0.2 2.1 2.2 0.7 0.4
   Services 0.1 0.3 0.3 2.4 1.8 1.4 0.9
      Trade Services 0.2 0.2 -0.2 1.9 1.5 1.3 1.3
   Construction 1.1 0.2 0.1 4.2 2.2 1.1 1.9
Intermediate Demand - Processed Goods 0.5 -0.3 0.7 4.7 4.7 -3.1 -6.9
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