May 11, 201208:42 AMBlog

Producer Price Index off slightly last month

May 11, 2012 - 08:42 AM

The Producer Price Index for finished goods fell 0.2 percent in April, seasonally adjusted, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Prices for finished goods were unchanged in March and increased 0.4 percent in February.

At the earlier stages of processing, prices received by manufacturers of intermediate goods decreased 0.5 percent in April and the crude goods index moved down 4.4 percent. On an unadjusted basis, prices for finished goods advanced 1.9 percent for the 12 months ended in April, the seventh straight month of slowing year-over-year increases following a 7 percent rise for the 12 months ended September 2011.

The April decrease in the finished goods index is attributable to a 1.4 percent decline in prices for finished energy goods. By contrast, the indexes for finished goods less foods and energy and for finished consumer foods both rose 0.2 percent.

The index for finished energy goods moved down 1.4 percent in April, the largest decline since a 1.5 percent decrease in October 2011. About half of the April drop can be traced to gasoline prices, which fell 1.7 percent.

Decreases in the indexes for residential natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas also contributed to lower prices for finished energy goods.

Prices for finished goods less foods and energy moved up 0.2 percent in April, the sixth straight increase. Nearly a quarter of the April rise is attributable to a 0.4 percent advance in the index for pharmaceutical preparations. Higher prices for civilian aircraft also were a factor in the increase in the finished core index.

The index for finished consumer foods rose 0.2 percent in April, the same as in March. The April advance was led by prices for beef and veal, which climbed 4.3 percent.

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