Core U.S. Producer-Price Gauge Accelerates From a Year Ago

A core measure of prices paid to U.S. producers accelerated in July for the first time in six months, in a sign the economy is stabilizing.

The producer-price index excluding food and energy rose 0.3% from July 2019 after a 0.1% increase in the year through June, Labor Department figures showed Tuesday. The median projection in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for no change from a year earlier. Compared with the prior month, the core PPI rose 0.5% in July, the largest gain since 2018.

The figures point to a slight recovery from the diminished pricing power that resulted from the coronavirus pandemic. At the same time, the move in inflation to the Federal Reserve’s 2% target will likely be a slow process. Restrained price pressures along the production chain are seen holding down inflation at the consumer level.

The Labor Department will issue its report on consumer prices for July on Wednesday.

Producer prices excluding food, energy, and trade services -- a measure preferred by economists because it strips out the most volatile components -- rose 0.1% from a year ago and increased 0.3% from the prior month.

The cost of goods increased 0.8% from a month earlier as energy prices advanced 5.3%. Food prices fell 0.5%. The index for final demand services climbed 0.5%, the most since April 2019. Portfolio management and machinery and vehicle wholesaling costs boosted prices for final demand services.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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