Wholesale Inflation Rose 0.2% in March

Large distribution warehouse | Image by Luis Alvarez/Getty Images

Wholesale inflation rose less than expected in March, offering some relief following more substantial increases in 2024.

The producer price index (PPI), which measures inflation at the wholesale level before reaching the consumer, rose 0.2% in March and 2.1% on a 12-month basis, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Thursday.

According to the report, goods prices in the U.S. fell 0.1% in March after rising 1.2% in February. Additionally, the prices of services rose 0.3% in March, the same increase as in the prior month but below the 0.5% spike in January.

According to Kurt Rankin, PNC senior economist, U.S. producer prices are up in 2024.

 “We’ve got plenty of upward pressure from the supply side of the economy still to make its way through to consumers over the coming months,” Rankin told CNN. “And, of course, consumer demand has not waned.”

Thursday’s softer wholesale data comes a day after the Labor Department released its third CPI report showing higher-than-expected inflation. Although it is not enough to sway the Fed, it is sufficient to “provide some relief” to the hot CPI print, according to Nicky Shiels, head of metals strategy at Geneva-based MKS PAMP.

“Overall, U.S. bonds are trading as though Fed rate hikes are coming while gold is trading as though the Fed remains in rate-cutting mode, so any dovish print going forward is fuel to accelerate the established bull trend,” she said, per Yahoo Finance.

Although the PPI data came in below consensus expectations, price pressures in the economy continue to dampen Wall Street’s expectations for early 2024 rate cuts.

As of the market close on Thursday, there was a 41% chance of a 25 basis point cut in July and a 45.2% chance in September, according to the Fed Rate Monitor Tool.

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