The Producer Price Index for finished goods decreased by a seasonally adjusted 0.6% for March, according to a Labor Department report (link opens in PDF) released today.
After January's 0.2% bump and February's 0.7% increase, the Department's latest report reverses the index's upward trend.
Although the newest data missed analysts' expectations of a minimal 0.2% drop, gas prices were the main culprit behind March's decrease. For the index excluding food and energy, analysts' 0.2% estimated increase proved spot-on.
The drop in finished goods prices also affected earlier stages of the supply chain. The crude goods index dropped 2.5% for March, while intermediate goods felt a 0.9% squeeze. Excluding falling energy prices and rising food prices, crude materials and intermediate goods prices bumped up 0.9% and 0.2%, respectively.
This month's report puts finished goods prices just 1.1% higher than March 2012, the weakest year-over-year growth since July 2012.