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U.S. Producer Prices Increased in August by More Than Forecast

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·3 min read
U.S. Producer Prices Increased in August by More Than Forecast
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(Bloomberg) -- Prices paid to U.S. producers increased in August by more than forecast as persistent supply chain disruptions squeeze production costs higher.

The producer price index for final demand increased 0.7% from the prior month and 8.3% from a year ago, a fresh series high, Labor Department data showed Friday. Excluding the volatile food and energy components, the so-called core PPI advanced 0.6%, and was up 6.7% from August of last year.

The median forecasts in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a 0.6% month-over-month advance in both the overall PPI and the core figure.

A variety of challenges across the production pipeline -- from materials shortages and shipping bottlenecks to rising labor expenses -- have driven up costs for producers. Many companies have passed along those additional costs onto consumers through higher prices in recent months, further stoking consumer inflation.

The 10-year Treasury yield ticked higher, the dollar remained lower and the S&P 500 advanced in early trading.

The PPI report showed prices for goods increased 1% after a 0.6% gain in the prior month, while the cost of services rose 0.7%.

Meats, residential natural gas, industrial chemicals and motor vehicles were among the goods that moved higher. The rise in services reflected a 7.8% gain in margins for health, beauty and optical goods retailing.

The PPI data come ahead of next week’s consumer price index report, which is forecast to show a 0.4% advance in the CPI from the prior month and a 5.3% increase from August of 2020.

Producer prices excluding food, energy, and trade services -- a measure often preferred by economists because it strips out the most volatile components -- rose 0.3% from the prior month and increased 6.3% from a year earlier.

Global Inflation

Producers around the world are raising prices amid soaring costs for commodities and shipping. A separate report out earlier this week showed prices paid to producers in China jumped in August from a year earlier by the most in 13 years.

Costs are growing earlier in the U.S. production pipeline as well. Processed goods for intermediate demand, which include materials and components used in manufacturing and construction, rose 1% in August and were up 23% from 12 months ago, a fresh 46-year high.

Meantime, several districts surveyed by the Federal Reserve “indicated that businesses anticipate significant hikes in their selling prices in the months ahead,” according to the U.S. central bank’s Beige Book released Wednesday.

The elevated cost pressures and supply chain bottlenecks are augmenting the uncertainty already faced by businesses. PPG Industries Inc., which specializes in paints and coatings, withdrew its 2021 financial guidance on Tuesday as supply-chain disruptions drag on sales and higher raw-material costs hurt profit.

(Updates with early stock trading.)

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