Producer Price Index Shows 0.2% Decline

The Department of Labor released its Producer Price Index, measuring trends in wholesale prices in the U.S. for the month of October, this morning. Overall, wholesale prices for finished goods were down a seasonally adjusted 0.2%, marking the first decline since May, when a 1% decline was notched.

Prior to this, the PPI had risen in June (0.2%), July (0.3%), August (1.7%), and September (1.1%). Prices had also risen in January (0.3%) and February (0.4%) this year.

October's "core" prices -- not counting food and energy -- dropped 0.2% in October, with lower prices for passenger cars and light trucks contributing to the slight drop. This was the first drop in this segment since November 2010.

The two key elements excluded from the definition of core goods -- food and energy -- basically offset each other. The index for finished energy goods dropped 0.5%, with falling gasoline prices (down 2.2%) driving most of the decline, and prices of liquefied natural gas and home heating oil also declining. Prices for finished consumer foods rose 0.4%, with dairy products in particular up 3%.

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