PPI: U.S. wholesale inflation show unexpected uptick in June

by Ike Obudulu Posted on July 12th, 2019

Washington: A day after reporting an unexpected uptick in U.S. consumer prices, the Labor Department released a report on Friday showing U.S. producer prices also unexpectedly edged higher in the month of June.

The Labor Department said its producer price index for final demand inched up by 0.1 percent in June, matching the uptick seen in May. Economists had expected producer prices to come in unchanged.

The modest increase in producer prices came as a steep drop in energy prices was more than offset by continued service price growth.

The report said energy prices plunged by 3.1 percent in June after tumbling by 1.0 percent in the previous month, with gas prices plummeting by 5.0 percent.

Excluding food and energy prices, however, core producer prices climbed by 0.3 percent in June after rising by 0.2 percent in May. Core prices had been expected to show another 0.2 percent increase.

The bigger than expected increase in core prices came as service prices rose by 0.4 percent in June after climbing by 0.3 percent in May.

Prices for trade services soared by 1.3 percent in June after falling by 0.5 percent in May, while prices for transportation and warehousing services rose by 0.3 percent and prices for other services were unchanged.

Compared to the same month a year ago, producer prices in June were up by 1.7 percent, reflecting a slowdown from the 1.8 percent growth in May.

Meanwhile, the report showed the annual rate of core producer price growth was unchanged from the previous month at 2.3 percent.

“The small gain in producer prices in June suggests the increase in tariffs on $200bn of imports from China has yet to generate a pick-up in inflation and confirms that underlying domestic inflationary pressures remain subdued,” said Michael Pearce, Senior U.S. Economist at Capital Economics.

He added, “That should help ease any fears, following the June CPI figures released yesterday, that underlying consumer price inflation will rise back above 2%.”

On Thursday, the Labor Department released a separate report showing an unexpected uptick in U.S. consumer prices in the month of June.

The Labor Department said its consumer price index inched up by 0.1 percent in June, matching the slight increase seen in May. Economists had expected consumer prices to come in unchanged.

Excluding food and energy prices, core consumer prices rose by 0.3 percent in June after inching up by 0.1 percent for four consecutive months. Core prices had been expected to edge up by 0.2 percent.

Despite the unexpected monthly increase, the Labor Department said the annual rate of consumer price growth slowed to 1.6 percent in June from 1.8 percent in May.

Meanwhile, the report said the annual rate of core consumer price growth crept up to 2.1 percent in June from 2.0 percent in the previous month.

How the Producer Price Index (PPI) differs from the Consumer Price Index (CPI)?

The Producer Price Index (PPI) of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is a family of indexes that measures the average change over time in prices received (price changes) by producers for domestically produced goods, services, and construction. PPIs measure price change from the perspective of the seller. This contrasts with other measures, such as the Consumer Price Index (CPI). CPIs measure price change from the purchaser’s perspective.

While both the PPI and CPI measure price change over time for a fixed set of goods and services, they differ in two critical areas: (1) the composition of the set of goods and services, and (2) the types of prices collected for the included goods and services.

The target set of goods and services included in the PPIs is the entire marketed output of U.S. producers. The set includes both goods and services purchased by other producers as inputs to their operations or as capital investment, as well as goods and services purchased by consumers either directly from the service producer or indirectly from a retailer. Because the PPI target is the output of U.S. producers, imports are excluded. The target set of items included in the CPI is the set of goods and services purchased for consumption purposes by urban U.S. households. This set includes imports.

The price collected for an item included in the PPIs is the revenue received by its producer. Sales and excise taxes are not included in the price because they do not represent revenue to the producer. The price collected for an item included in the CPI is the out-of-pocket expenditure by a consumer for the item. Sales and excise taxes are included in the price because they are necessary expenditures by the consumer for the item.

The differences between the PPI and CPI are consistent with the different uses of the two measures. A primary use of the PPI is to deflate revenue streams in order to measure real growth in output. A primary use of the CPI is to adjust income and expenditure streams for changes in the cost of living.

The composition of items in the Finished Goods Price Index differs from that of the All Items Consumer Price Index in two major respects. First, the Finished Goods Price Index includes price changes for producers’ durable equipment, which are not purchased by typical consumers and, therefore, are not included in the CPI. Second, the All Items CPI includes services which are not reflected in the Finished Goods Price Index. An additional difference is that the Finished Goods Price Index is only available at the U.S. level, while the All Items CPI is available at the regional, metropolitan area, and U.S. levels.

Although some data users utilize the PPI as a potential indicator of the Consumer Price Index (CPI), there are many reasons why the PPI and the CPI may diverge. The scope of the personal consumption portion of the PPI includes all marketable output sold by domestic producers for households. The scope of the CPI includes goods and services provided by business or government, where explicit user charges are paid by consumers. For example, the most heavily weighted item in the CPI, owners’ equivalent rent, is excluded from the PPI. The scope of the CPI includes imports. The PPI excludes imports. The CPI only includes components of personal consumption directly paid for by the consumers, while the PPI includes components of personal consumption that may not be paid for by consumers. For example, the PPI includes medical services paid for by third parties. In contrast to CPI, PPI does not completely cover services. PPIs exclude taxes, since they do not represent producer revenue. Conversely, sales and other taxes paid by consumers are part of household expenditure and are included in the CPI. Additional technical differences between PPI and CPI also exist.

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