PhotoAfter declining 0.1% in March and 0.2% in February, the cost of living one step shy of the consumer level is on the rise again.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports its Producer Price Index (PPI) for final demand rose a seasonally adjusted 0.2% in April. For the 12 months ended in April, the PPI is unchanged.

Goods and services

The wholesale cost of goods was up 0.2% last month -- the same as in March, with energy prices up 0.2% and food down 0.3%. A major contributor to the April increase in prices was carbon steel scrap, which soared 22.1%. Prices for gasoline, electric power, pharmaceutical preparations, beef and veal, and prepared poultry also advanced. The cost of chicken eggs dropped 33.9%, while home heating oil and jet fuel also fell.

Services prices edged up 0.1% with the cost of portfolio management up 4.5%. The prices of fuels and lubricants retailing, residential real estate loans, chemicals and allied products wholesaling, and truck transportation of freight also increased. The cost of airline passenger services fell (-1.7%) along with health, beauty, and optical goods retailing; machinery and equipment wholesaling; and services related to securities brokerage.

Core inflation

The PPI less foods, energy, and trade services rose 0.3% in April after holding steady in March. For the 12 months ended in April, the core rate of inflation was up 0.9%.

The full report may be found on the BLS website.

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