U.S. PPI accelerated unexpectedly in November, frustrating hopes for quick pivot

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U.S. PPI accelerated unexpectedly in November, frustrating hopes for quick pivot
Credit: © Reuters.

By Geoffrey Smith

Investing.com -- U.S. producer prices rose faster than expected in November, in another sign that inflation isn't coming down as fast as the Federal Reserve would like.

The producer price index rose by 0.3% from October, more than the 0.2% consensus, and October's number was also revised up to 0.3% from 0.2%. The picture was flattered by volatile food and energy prices: without those two elements, the ' core ' producer price index rose 0.4%, the most since June.

That left the core year-on-year rate of factory gate inflation at 6.2%. While that's the lowest reading in over a year, the result of big increases in energy prices last year passing out of the equation, analysts had forecast a steeper decline to 5.9%. More recent developments in energy markets also helped, with gasoline prices down 6.0% on the month.

The headline annual PPI rate similarly declined only to 7.4% from an upwardly revised 8.1% in October. Analysts had forecast a slowdown to 7.2%.

Analysts said the broad trend of disinflation in traded goods was still intact, however. In year-on-year terms, all of the main sectors of the index are falling with the exception of wholesale food prices, tweeted Charles Schwab's chief fixed income strategist Kathy Jones.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said that most of the impulse for November's data came from final demand services, with financial services accounting for one-third of the total gain in services prices. It noted that service providers' profit margins expanded by 0.7 percentage points, fresh evidence that corporate pricing power has contributed largely to overall inflation this year, besides the better-documented narratives of higher energy and labor costs.

U.S. stock futures reacted negatively to the news, which was seen as making it harder for the Federal Reserve to slow and then stop this year's sequence of interest rate increases. After a strong labor market report for November, market participants expect the Fed will have to raise rates above 5% to bring inflation down decisively.

By 09:05 ET (14:05 GMT), Dow Jones Futures had reversed overnight gains to trade down 95 points, or 0.3%, while S&P 500 Futures and Nasdaq 100 Futures were down by fractionally more. However, the bond and currency markets were more relaxed, with Treasury yields staying broadly flat and the Dollar Index gaining less than 0.3% to trade at 104.82, flat on the day.

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