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Producer prices level off thanks to lower egg prices

By By Casey Harper | The Center Square,

2023-03-15

(The Center Square) – The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released its producer price index for the month of February which showed those prices decreased 0.1%, driven in large part because of the price of eggs recovering from a spike because of the avian flu outbreak.

The index has risen 4.6% over the previous 12 months.

"Over 80 percent of the February decline in the index for final demand goods can be attributed to a 36.1-percent drop in prices for chicken eggs," BLS said. "The indexes for residential natural gas, fresh and dry vegetables, diesel fuel, home heating oil, and primary basic organic chemicals also fell. Conversely, prices for iron and steel scrap advanced 10.6 percent. The indexes for gasoline and for sugar and confectionery products also increased."

The decrease in prices was across a range of goods and services.

"A major factor in the February decrease in prices for final demand services was margins for machinery and vehicle wholesaling, which fell 3.9 percent," BLS said. "The indexes for chemicals and allied products wholesaling, automobiles and automobile parts retailing, guestroom rental, and airline passenger services also declined. Conversely, prices for outpatient care (partial) rose 0.5 percent. The indexes for food and alcohol retailing; securities brokerage, dealing, investment advice, and related services; and loan services (partial) also increased."

The data comes after BLS released its consumer price index Tuesday, which showed a 0.4% increase for the month of February. That figure raised concerns that inflationary pressures may not be decreasing as quickly as some experts hoped. And with the recent bank failures, the Federal Reserve may be less aggressive in getting inflation down.

The Federal Reserve is expected to make an announcement on interest rates next week.

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