Saturday, November 1st5.8°C
23710
23883

US producer prices slipped 0.2 per cent in May in sign of tame inflation

WASHINGTON - The prices U.S. companies receive for their goods and services fell in May, offering evidence that inflation is mild.

The producer price index, which measures the cost of goods and services before they reach the consumer, dropped 0.2 per cent last month, the Labor Department said Friday. The decline was driven lower by cheaper food and gas, and follows two months of strong gains that had suggested inflation might be perking up after being dormant for two years.

In the past 12 months, producer prices have risen 2 per cent, matching the Federal Reserve's inflation target. That's down from an annual gain of 2.1 per cent in April.

"The underlying details of the report suggest that producer price inflation is still fairly contained despite the big increases in the last few months," Omair Sharif, an economist at RBS Securities, said in a research note.

Excluding the volatile food, energy and profit margin categories, core producer prices were unchanged in May. The result comes after a 0.3 per cent gain in each of the two preceding months. Core prices have risen 2 per cent in the past year.

Wholesale food prices fell 0.2 per cent after four months of steep increases. And wholesale gas prices dropped 0.9 per cent, suggesting consumers may see some relief at the gas pump in coming months.

Another reason producer prices fell: retailer and wholesaler profit margins declined 0.5 per cent after two months of strong gains.

The drop in profit margins comes after robust increases in April and March. Retailer and wholesaler profit margins had fallen in the winter as companies rolled out discounts to lure shoppers through the doors during harsh winter storms.

Wholesale prices rose 0.6 per cent in April and 0.5 per cent in May. Some of those increases have been passed onto consumers. The consumer price index, the most widely followed inflation measure, rose 2 per cent in April compared with 12 months earlier. That was the largest yearly increase since July.

The Federal Reserve prefers inflation at about 2 per cent as a guard against deflation, which occurs when prices actually fall. Deflation can also drag down wages and typically leads to recessions.

Inflation, as measured by the consumer price index, has been mostly below 2 per cent for the past two years.

Consumers may like low prices, but weak inflation also occurs when the economy is sluggish. Wage growth has been meagre for the past four years, and unemployment remains at historically high levels. That limits consumer spending and makes it harder for businesses to raise prices.

Still, low inflation has enabled the Fed to pursue extraordinary stimulus programs to try and boost the economy. It has begun to unwind some of that stimulus, cutting its monthly bond purchases to $45 billion from $85 billion last year.

The bond purchases, intended to lower long-term interest rates, are expected to be trimmed by another $10 billion when Fed officials meet again next week.

The Canadian Press


Read more Business News

23479


Recent Trending




Today's Market
S&P TSX14613.32+154.63
S&P CDNX769.59-2.06
DJIA17390.52195.10
Nasdaq4630.742+64.604
S&P 5002018.05+23.40
CDN Dollar0.88750.00
Gold1166.30-32.2999
Oil80.55-0.35
Lumber325.70+2.10
Natural Gas3.715+0.066

 
Okanagan Companies
Pacific Safety0.125+0.015
Knighthawk0.01-0.005
QHR Technologies Inc1.18+0.03
Cantex0.045-0.015
Anavex Life Sciences0.185+0.0139
Metalex Ventures0.03-0.005
Russel Metals32.85+0.63
Copper Mountain Mining2.09+0.12
Colorado Resources0.125-0.015
ReliaBrand Inc0.015+0.003
Sunrise Resources Ltd0.05+0.025
Mission Ready Services0.39+0.015

 





FEATURED Property
20565983591 Hart Road
4 bedrooms 6 baths
$7,495,000
more details
image2image2image2
Click here to feature your property
Please wait... loading


Empty nesting: financial issues

Now that the children have ‘left the nest’, it is a good time to step back and take stock of your financial situation. Being on your own will probably cut household costs to some extent, b...


Keep your haunted home safe

Eerie sounds, spooky lights and Jack-o’-lanterns aglow—extra efforts at Halloween will keep visitors coming back for both tricks and treats. However, to keep the fun going, it’s imp...


What I learned in China

Photo: ContributedI will never be an expert on China. It is just too big, too complex and too old with layers of history and meaning that would take several lifetimes to unravel. As I said to my hosts...

_



23884

23884


Member of BC Press Council


23895