WASHINGTON — The producer price index rose 1.7% in August, above expectations for a 1.4% rise, as energy prices surged 6.4% after declines in the previous five months and food prices were up 0.9%, data released Thursday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed.
The core PPI rose 0.2%, as expected. Within the core, prices of passenger cars fell 0.2%, but light truck prices rose 0.6%. There were increases in prices for the apparel categories outside of footwear, as well as pharmaceutical preps.
However, there were price declines for home-related categories such as furniture, floor coverings, and home electronics. Prices of appliance only rose 0.1%.
Energy prices broke a string of 5 consecutive declines with their 6.4% rise, which was led by a 13.6% jump in gasoline prices. In addition, prices rose 10.8% for home heating oil, 1.0% for residential gas, and 0.4% for home electricity.
Energy prices were up 0.4% year/year in August, while gasoline prices stand 4.3% above their year-ago level.
Excluding only energy prices, the August PPI would have been up 0.4%, the same pace as in July.
Food prices rose 0.9% in August following a 0.5% rise in the previous month. There were prices increases for almost all the food categories, particularly eggs. However, the price of fresh fruit fell 0.8% in the month and the price of beef fell 3.2%.
With the 1.2% unadjusted monthly rise in PPI, the 12-month rate now stands at 2.0%, up sharply from the 0.5% rate in July that hit a near 3-year low.
For core PPI, the year/year rate held steady at 2.5% in August.
In the inflation pipeline, intermediate goods prices were up 1.1% overall, but fell 0.2% excluding food and energy prices. Crude prices surged 5.8% in August and were up 2.2% excluding food and energy prices.
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