October Producer Prices Up 0.2% But Broad Inflation Pressures Muted

U.S. producer prices rose a seasonally adjusted 0.2% in October, largely because of a spike in an erratic category that measures profit margins for wholesalers and retailers. Yet inflationary pressure was muted for most other goods and services while energy prices continued to decline, the Labor Department said Tuesday. Economists polled by MarketWatch had predicted a 0.1% drop in the PPI because of the plunge in global petroleum prices. Excluding the volatile categories of trade margins, food and energy, core wholesale prices rose a smaller 0.1%. The price of services climbed by 0.5% last month, the biggest increase in more than a year. The wholesale cost of goods, however, fell by 0.4% to mark the biggest drop in a year and a half. Energy prices declined by a seasonally adjusted 3%. Over the past year overall producer prices have risen an unadjusted 1.5%, the smallest advance since February. The 12-month rate of wholesale inflation had crept up to 2.1% as recently as last May before energy prices began a sharp decline and the rise in food costs slowed.

Copyright © 2014 MarketWatch, Inc.