Producer Prices Jump 0.8% in November
U.S. producer prices rose more than expected in November as energy prices spiked, but underlying inflation pressures remained subdued, according to Labor Department data released on Tuesday.
The producer price index, a measure of business costs, rose 0.8% last month, above forecasts for a 0.6% gain in a Reuters poll. Compared to the same month a year earlier, the PPI climbed a robust 3.5%.
Core producer prices -- which are favored by Federal Reserve policymakers because they exclude food and energy prices that are considered more erratic -- rose 0.3%, above estimates for a 0.2% increase. The yearly gain was 1.2%.
The Fed holds its regular policy meeting on Tuesday and is not expected to make any shifts to its policy of buying an additional $600 billion in government bonds to stimulate a frail economic recovery amid high unemployment and low inflation. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has indicated he would like to see inflation running at about 2% or a bit below.
The report highlighted the dissonance between the inflation measures used by policy officials and the everyday experience of businesses and consumers. Gasoline costs jumped 4.7% while the price of fruit soared 13.6%.