Keeping you up to date on the latest data releases.
- Producer Price Index
The Producer Price Index (PPI) for finished goods jumped up at an annualized rate of 4.4 percent in February, contrasting recent soft readings that include a modest 1.2 percent increase in January and a 1.2 decline in December. Energy prices (mostly gasoline) jumped up 17.3 percent, accounting for much of the overall increase. On the other hand, producer prices for finished consumer foods declined 1.2 percent during the month, its third straight decline. On a year-over-year basis, the headline PPI is up 3.3 percent, which is above its longer-term (20-year) growth rate of 2.3 percent, but is well off its recent cyclical high of 7.2 percent set last September. Excluding food and energy prices, the “core” PPI rose 2.0 percent in February, after a 6.2 percent spike in January. Interestingly, the a third of February’s modest increase can be tied to a single component: pharmaceutical preparations. The near-term (3-month) annnualized growth rate in the core PPI edged up from 2.7 percent to 3.6 percent in February, slightly above its 12-month growth rate of 3.0 percent. Further back on the production line, pricing pressure was mixed, as core intermediate goods prices jumped up 13.3 percent in February—well above its 2.5 percent year-over-year growth rate, and core crude goods prices slipped down 3.1 percent—in line with its 12-month growth rate of −2.5 percent.