Keeping you up to date on the latest data releases.
The Producer Price Index (PPI) for finished goods continued its upward climb, rising at an annualized rate of 8.6 percent in March. Again, energy prices (up 35 percent) were a large driver of the overall increase. Food prices actually edged down in March, decreasing 2.4 percent, but that was following a massive 58.4 percent spike in February (its largest increase since November 1974). On a year-over-year basis, the headline PPI is up 5.8 percent, its highest level since last March, though well below the near 10 percent growth rate seen during the mid-2008 energy price shock. Excluding volatile food and energy items, producer prices rose 3.5 percent in March and is trending at an annualized growth rate of 4.2 percent over the past three months, well above its 12-month growth rate of 1.9 percent. At earlier stages of production, pricing pressure was mixed, as core intermediate goods rose 11.4 percent and core crude goods slipped down 24.8 percent in March.