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Wholesale Inflation Rises to Highest Level in 11 Months

Wholesale Inflation Rises to Highest Level in 11 Months

Apr 12, 2024

Wholesale Inflation Rises to Highest Level in 11 Months

Recent data from the U.S. Labor Department indicates wholesale inflation accelerated in March, suggesting that inflationary pressures are far from over and potentially impacting future interest rates. According to the report released on April 11, the producer price index (PPI), which measures inflation from the perspective of business input costs, rose by 2.1 percent year-over-year in March, marking a significant increase from the 1.6 percent recorded the previous month. This is the highest rate since April 2023, when it was at 2.3 percent.

On a month-over-month basis, March saw a 0.2 percent rise in the PPI, a slowdown from February's 0.6 percent but still indicative of an ongoing upward trend in prices. Services were the main driver of this increase, with the index for final demand services rising by 0.3 percent, while goods saw a more modest increase of 0.1 percent.

The rise in wholesale inflation is a critical indicator for consumer prices, as businesses often pass increased costs down to consumers. This trend is mirrored in the consumer price index (CPI), which also saw an uptick last month. Retail inflation climbed to 3.5 percent in March from 3.2 percent in February. Core CPI, excluding food and energy, was reported at 3.8 percent, whereas the "supercore" measure, which further excludes rent, accelerated to 4.8 percent, the highest in 11 months.

In response to the inflation reports, financial markets reacted negatively, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling by more than 500 points. This suggests that the Federal Reserve might postpone its anticipated interest rate cut, or potentially consider further rate hikes. The federal funds rate is currently set between 5.25 and 5.5 percent, with market expectations leaning towards a possible 25 basis-point rate cut by the year's end.

Amidst these developments, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo criticized the role of fiscal and monetary policy in inflation, stating, "The latest data confirms what families see at the grocery store: Inflation is still a major problem. It will take a long time to fix the mess created by reckless fiscal and monetary policies."

While inflation has declined from its June 2022 peak, the latest figures indicate that prices are still rising and exerting pressure on policymakers to maintain or increase interest rates.

Labor Department Data

The Epoch Times Article


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