January 24, 2018

Producer Prices Slipped 0.1% in December

13 January 2018, 05:36 | Hattie Nash

US PPI for final demand falls 0.1 pct in December: report

US producer prices slip 0.1 percent on cheaper food, services

It was the first monthly drop since August 2016.

Within intermediate demand in December, prices for processed goods increased 0.5 percent, the index for unprocessed goods rose 2.1 percent, and prices for services edged down 0.1 percent.

The producer-price index, a measure of the prices businesses fetched for their goods and services, fell 0.1% in December from a month earlier, the Labor Department said Thursday.

Most of the December decline in the final demand index was attributable to a 0.2-percent decrease in prices for final demand services.

Prices for final demand trade services slid by 0.6%, while prices for final demand transportation and warehousing services fell by 0.4%. The consumer price index increased a modest 2.2 percent in November from a year ago.

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Read the BLS release. This category measures the price change for both unprocessed and processed goods.

Excluding food and energy prices, core producer prices still dipped by 0.1% in December following a 0.3% increase in November.

Federal Reserve policymakers have said they expect to raise short-term interest rates three times this year.

Wholesale gas prices dropped 3.9 percent last month, suggesting consumers may soon see some savings at the gas pump.

Energy prices came in unchanged during the month of December after surging up by 4.6% in the previous month.

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The index for final demand services moved down 0.2 percent in December following nine consecutive increases.

The dollar.DXY fell against a basket of currencies on the wholesale inflation data and expectations that the European Central Bank was preparing to reduce its monetary stimulus program. The decline reflected a 10.7 percent drop in margins for automotive fuels and lubricants retailing. Core prices had also been expected to tick up by 0.2%.

The Labor Department said the December decline in prices owed largely to lower prices for services, including for vehicle fuels, airline travel, and apparel retailing. It rose 2.3 percent in the 12 months through December. Economists had forecast claims falling to 245,000 in the latest week. Unadjusted claims for NY rose by 27,170 last week, more than half of the national total.

"We advise against extrapolating unless the rise is sustained in coming weeks", said Jim O'Sullivan, chief USA economist at High Frequency Economics in Valhalla, New York. That is the longest such stretch since 1970, when the labor market was much smaller.

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