Producer prices in the United States rose less than expected in December but still set a new standard at a time when consumer inflation is at its highest point in nearly 40 years, the Labor Department said on Thursday.
The producer price index, which measures the prices received by producers of goods, services and construction, rose 0.2% in December compared to the previous month. Analysts consulted expected a variation of 0.4 percent.
However, in the 12-month measurement, the index rose 9.7% with figures at the end of 2021, the highest increase in a calendar year on record.
The monthly figure represented a slowdown compared to the previous two months, which showed advances of 1% in November and 0.6% in October.
Excluding volatile components such as food and energy, the PPI advanced 8.3% at the annual rate and 0.5% in the monthly measurement.
Final demand prices excluding food, energy and commercial services increased 0.4% monthly, after advancing 0.8% in November.
At an annual rate, the index increased 6.9%, after an advance of 1.3% in 2020.
Final demand services presented a variation of 0.5% in December after an increase of 0.9% in November.
The final demand goods index fell 0.4% in December, the first decline since the 2.8% contraction in April 2020.
Leading the fall in December, in the prices of final demand is energy, which fell 3.3 percent. The final food demand index fell 0.6 percent.
On the contrary, the final prices of goods less food and energy advanced 0.5 percent.
An important factor in the decrease in the prices of final demand goods in December was the gasoline index, which fell 6.1 percent.
Prices of meat, gaseous fuels, fresh and dried vegetables, diesel fuel and primary basic organic chemicals also decreased. In contrast, the ethanol index increased 6.4 percent.
Prices for residential electricity and chicken eggs also rose.
Intermediate demand by type of merchandise
Within the intermediate demand in December, the prices of processed goods fell 0.3%, the index of unprocessed goods fell 5.6% and the prices of services advanced 0.8 percent.
Raw goods for intermediate demand fell 5.6% in December, the first drop after eight consecutive increases.
60% of the December decline in raw goods prices can be attributed to the crude oil index, which fell 16.4%.
Intermediate demand services rose 0.8% in December, the biggest advance since June when it rose 1.2%.
Fed’s Harker backs March rate hike
The US Federal Reserve could start raising interest rates from their current near-zero level in March and may have to raise borrowing costs later this year to help curb inflation, it said on Thursday. Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker.
“I expect that we will complete the reduction in asset purchases in March. So we can probably expect a 25 basis point rate hike,” Harker said in remarks prepared for a virtual event hosted by the Philadelphia Business Journal.
“We could continue to raise rates throughout the year as the data evolves,” added Harker, as the central bank prepares to more quickly reduce the stimulus it put in place almost two years ago to take care of the economy during the Covid-19 pandemic. 19. (Reuters)