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Economy in Brief

U.S. PPI Edges 0.1% Lower in September; Core Prices Up 0.1%
by Carol Stone  October 29, 2013

The producer price index for finished goods was a mixed bag in September with only a modest change in total, which eased 0.1% (+ 0.3% y/y) following August's 0.3% increase. Consensus expectations looked for a 0.2% rise. Prices excluding food & energy rose 0.1% in September (1.2% y/y) after being unchanged in August; forecasts looked for a 0.1% gain.

Food prices turned down 1.0% (+1.5% y/y) after August's 0.6% rise. Fresh and dry vegetables reversed a surge in August with a 17.9% plunge in September, but were still up 29.1% y/y. Most meats, including beef, chicken and turkey, and dairy were also down in the latest month. Energy prices were up 0.5% in September, which, given a second consecutive strong move in the year-ago month, resulted in a year-on-year drop of drop of 2.8%. Gasoline prices paused after their 2.6% rise in August with a 0.1% decline in September and were a sizable 9.8% below September 2012. Residential natural gas prices rose 1.0% in September after falling in both July and August; they were up 8.4% y/y. Residential electric power prices extended a steady trend of 0.2% m/m increases to a fifth month and were up +2.7% y/y. By contrast, home heating oil prices rebounded in September by 3.4%, but remained 6.0% below September 2012.

Finished consumer goods prices excluding foods rose 0.1% (+1.3% y/y), including the energy price upturn. Finished consumer goods prices excluding food & energy fell 0.1% (1.5% y/y) after being unchanged in August. Within the components, women's apparel prices rose 0.9% in September and were up 3.1% y/y, while men's apparel prices fell 0.6% m/m and were down 0.2% y/y. Furniture prices were largely flat m/m and up 1.8% y/y, while household appliance prices were also flat in the month and down 0.6% y/y and home electronic equipment, also unchanged on the month, was down 2.3% y/y. Passenger car prices rose 0.3% m/m and were off 1.4% y/y. Capital equipment prices rose 0.3% in September (+0.9% y/y) after easing 0.1% in August.

Intermediate goods prices edged up 0.1% m/m (-0.5% y/y) after being unchanged in July and August; core prices were also up 0.1% (+0.9% y/y) after increasing 0.2% in August. Intermediate foods and feeds rose 0.3% in September (-1.6% y/y) while intermediate energy goods prices increased 0.3%; these were down 4.3% y/y. Crude goods prices turned up 0.5% last month (+0.5% y/y) after August's 2.7% drop, but the September advance was all in energy prices, which rose 2.0% (+9.7% y/y). Crude foodstuffs and feedstuffs were off another 0.4% m/m (-4.2% y/y) and crude goods core prices excluding food & energy fell 1.0% m/m (-6.4% y/y).

The PPI data are contained in Haver's USECON database with further detail in PPI and PPIR. The expectations figures are available in the AS1REPNA database. 

Producer Price Index (%) Sep Aug Jul Sep Y/Y 2012 2011 2010
Finished Goods -0.1 0.3 0.0 0.3 1.9 6.0 4.2
  Less Food & Energy 0.1 0.0 0.1 1.2 2.6 2.4 1.2
    Foods -1.0 0.6 0.0 2.6 2.6 6.3 3.9
    Energy 0.5 0.8 -0.2 0.7 -0.2 15.5 13.5
Intermediate Goods 0.1 0.0 0.0 -0.5 0.5 9.0 6.4
  Less Food & Energy 0.1 0.2 -0.3 0.9 0.3 6.2 4.3
Crude Goods 0.5 -2.7 1.2 0.5 -3.3 17.4 21.3
  Less Food & Energy -1.0 -0.4 -0.3 -6.4 -5.2 18.5 32.5
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