The producer price index for finished goods saw a seasonally adjusted drop in April of 0.7 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Wednesday. That's a slight acceleration of the 0.6 percent drop in March, but dead even with the 0.7 percent drop reported in the month prior.
The drop jibes with numbers predicted by economists surveyed by MarketWatch.
MarketWatch also reported that investors seemed more interested in ongoing softness in manufacturing than they were in inflation, or the lack of it.
Prices for finished goods rose 0.6 percent for the 12-month period ended in April 2013, which was the smallest year-over-year rise since July 2012, according to the BLS.
Prices for finished energy goods dropped 2.5 percent, accounting for more than 80 percent of the decrease in the finished goods index. The index for finished consumer foods was down 0.8 percent in the period, but prices for finished goods rose 0.1 percent when foods and energy were removed from the equation.
Finished energy goods were down 3.4 in March, which the BLS attributed to a drop in prices for gasoline, home heating oil and residential electricity.
Prices for finished consumer foods slipped 0.8 percent, the largest drop since a decline in May 2011 of 1 percent. Most of the decline in April was chalked up to the fresh and dry vegetables index, which sank 10.6 percent for the month. Meat prices were down as well.
The core index for finished goods, minus foods and energy, was up slightly at 0.1 percent. It had been rising at 0.2 percent for each of the four months prior, the BLS reported.
The April PPI for intermediate materials, supplies and components fell as well, though at 0.6 percent the drop was a slowdown from the 0.9 percent drop in March. Two-thirds of the drop was due to a decline in prices for intermediate energy goods, at 2.1 percent.
When food and feed were extracted, the index decreased 1 percent, the greatest yearly drop since August 2012.
Following the 4.7 percent decline for intermediate energy goods in March, price declines in that sector slowed to 2.1 percent. Regardless, the price drop was contributed to by decreases in diesel fuel, gasoline and jet fuel.
When food and energy were removed, the index for intermediate goods was down 0.2 percent in April. The sector had shown rises for four months in a row. Leading the price drop was a settling of prices for primary basic organic chemicals and plastic resins.
Food and feed were down 0.9 percent in April.
The price index for crude materials dropped 0.4 percent in April, led by foodstuffs and feedstuffs, which dropped 2.6 percent. The crude energy materials index rose 3.7 percent, however. Some 70 percent of the decline in April was attributed to an 11.5 percent drop in the price of corn.
Nonfood materials decreased 2.8 percent when energy was factored out. The index for crude energy materials was up 3.7 percent in the month, primarily due to a sharp jump in the price of natural gas.
The full BLS report is available here.
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