Wholesale inflation in US declined last month, signaling that price pressures are still easing

Jan 12, 2024, 5:38 AM

File - Parts of electric busses are viewed at New Flyer, an electric vehicles manufacturing company...

File - Parts of electric busses are viewed at New Flyer, an electric vehicles manufacturing company, Feb. 9, 2023, in St. Cloud, Minn. On Friday, the Labor Department releases producer prices data for December. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

(AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Wholesale inflation in the United States fell in December, further evidence that price pressures in the economy are easing.

The Labor Department reported Friday that its producer price index — which tracks inflation before it reaches consumers — declined 0.1% from November to December. Measured year over year, producer prices rose by a mild 1%.

Excluding volatile food and energy costs, so-called core wholesale prices were unchanged from November and up 1.8% from a year earlier. Core inflation, by omitting prices that tend to fluctuate from month to month, is seen by many economists as a better guide to the direction of inflation.

Friday’s report reinforced the view that U.S. inflation pressures are slowing, if not always consistently. The producer figures, which reflect prices charged by manufacturers, farmers and wholesalers, can eventually influence consumer prices.

After reached a four-decade high in mid-2022, inflation has slowed sharply in the face of 11 interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve. But there have been blips along the way.

On Thursday, for example, the government reported that its closely watched index of consumer prices unexpectedly picked up pace in December, driven mainly by housing and energy costs. But core consumer prices rose just 0.3% from November, unchanged from the previous month, and 3.9% from a year earlier — the mildest 12-month pace since 2021.

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Wholesale inflation in US declined last month, signaling that price pressures are still easing