Global economic headwinds have put the brakes on demand for commodities, and as a result wholesale prices have edged higher. Ongoing economic weakness in Europe was cited as one of the reasons why the headline U.S. producer price index for February increased 0.7 percent. This was ahead of expectations for a 0.6 percent increase, and a leap from January’s 0.2 percent increase.
The advance was led by a 3.0 percent increase in energy prices for the period, the first increase in fourth months. Gasoline prices advanced 7.2 percent. After increasing 0.7 percent in January, finished food prices fell 0.5 percent. The core rate, which excludes food and energy because of their volatility, increased 0.2 percent — in line with both expectations and January’s rate.
Here’s the BLS chart for seasonally-adjusted monthly percent changes in the PPI for finished goods, which is the headline rate.