Wholesale Prices Rise In July

Published by: Mike Goldman on 17th Aug 2011 | View all blogs by Mike Goldman
Wholesale Prices Rise In July

The US Labor Department released its monthly Producer Price index on Wednesday, showing that wholesale prices rose in July.  The overall index increased 0.2 percent following a 0.4 percent decline in June that was the first drop in the measure in some 17 months.  The core Producer Price index, meanwhile, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, rose 0.4 percent, the largest increase in the measure since January.

A key driver of the increase in core prices was a 2.8 percent increase in tobacco prices, the biggest rise in more than two years, which accounted for about one-fourth of the overall rise in the core index.  Prices of pickup trucks, meanwhile, increased about 1 percent, and food prices made their biggest jump since February, rising 0.6 percent.  Gas prices, however, fell for a second straight month.

The PPI has increased 7.2 percent over the last year, up significantly from the one-year rise earlier this year but not quite the 7.3 percent year-over-year increase in May that was the biggest in about thirty months.  The core index, meanwhile, has increased 2.5 percent on a year-to-year basis, the biggest yearly increase in that measure since June.

Inflationary pressures are easing somewhat thanks to falling gas and oil prices, in sharp contrast to the first five months of the year, when rising food and gas prices drove the Producer Price index up 1 percent in January and 1.5 percent in February.  Gas prices, after reaching a peak of nearly $4 a gallon in early May, have fallen back to just under $3.60 a gallon on Wednesday morning, bringing some relief to cash-strapped consumers.  Contributing to the decline is the fact that many Americans are driving less, as gasoline sales volume has declined for 21 straight weeks now, acccording to a report from MasterCard SpendingPulse.

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