Tuesday, March 28, 2023
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Wholesale prices surge again, PPI shows, in sign inflation is unlikely to ease quickly

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The numbers: U.S. wholesale prices jumped 0.7% in January to mark the biggest gain since last summer, offering further proof that inflation is sticky and unlikely to decline rapidly.

Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had forecast a 0.4% increase.

The stronger-than-expected reading — the biggest since last June — dented U.S. stocks in premarket trades and sent yields on the 10-year Treasury note higher.

The increase in wholesale prices over the past 12 months, meanwhile, slowed to 6% from 6.5% in the prior month. That’s still three times higher than the Fed’s target for overall inflation, however.

A separate measure of wholesale prices that strips out volatile food and energy costs climbed a sharp 0.6% last month, the government said Wednesday. That was the largest increase in 10 months.

The increase in these so-called core prices over the past year eased to 4.5% from was 4.7%.

Big picture: Inflation has ebbed after reaching a 40-year peak last summer, but it’s still stubbornly high and unlikely to subside quickly.

Persistent inflation has forced the Fed to jack up interest rates to try bring prices under control, but the strategy also raises the risk of a recession in 2023. Higher borrowing costs depress consumer and business spending.

Market reaction: The Dow Jones Industrial Average
and S&P 500
were set to open lower in Thursday trades.

Credit: marketwatch.com

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