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Producer Prices Climb in April, Inflation Persists

Producer Prices Climb in April, Inflation Persists

May 14, 2024

Producer Prices Climb in April, Inflation Persists

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the U.S. Producer Price Index (PPI) experienced a notable increase in April, intensifying concerns about a potential new wave of inflation. The PPI, which measures the average change over time in the selling prices received by domestic producers for their output, rose by 0.5 percent in April, surpassing the consensus estimate of 0.3 percent growth. This increase is a significant turnaround from the negative 0.1 percent reported for March.

Economists had anticipated a year-over-year PPI increase to 2.2 percent, up from 1.8 percent, which aligns with the actual April data, marking the highest rate since the same month the previous year. The core PPI, which excludes food and energy, also saw a 0.5 percent rise, exceeding market predictions of a 0.2 percent increase.

Service prices, which include portfolio management and hotel accommodations, saw a considerable jump of 0.6 percent—the largest since July 2023—while goods prices advanced by 0.4 percent. Since January 2021, the PPI has cumulatively surged by 25 percent, signaling sustained input cost pressures on businesses.

This news resulted in a negative reaction in the financial markets, with leading benchmark indexes dipping by up to 0.4 percent. The U.S. Dollar Index also saw an uptick, surpassing 105.30.

Amidst these inflationary pressures, the White House and Democratic lawmakers have pointed to "corporate greed," or "greedflation," as a key driver of inflation. However, a study by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco refuted this claim, stating that aggregate markups have remained stable since the economic recovery began, and are not the main driver of inflation.

Instead, the report highlights massive government stimulus and historically low Federal Reserve interest rates as factors that have boosted consumer demand against a backdrop of supply chain disruptions and product shortages.

The current state of affairs suggests that inflationary pressures remain high, with the Federal Reserve's next policy moves being closely watched by markets and policymakers. The upcoming CPI data release will be crucial in shaping expectations for future interest rates and the overall trajectory of the U.S. economy.

Reuters Article

The Epoch Times Article


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