The Labor Department announced on Thursday the U.S. producer-price index
(PPI) fell 0.5 percent m-o-m in March, following an upwardly revised flat m-o-m
reading (from -0.1
percent m-o-m) in February.
For the 12 months through March, the PPI increased 2.7 percent,
decelerating sharply from an upwardly revised 4.9 percent climb (from +4.6
percent) in the previous month. That marked the weakest annual rise since January
2021 (+1.6 percent).
Economists had foreseen the headline PPI would be unchanged m-o-m last
month but jump 3.0 percent over the past 12 months.
According to the report, two-thirds of the March decline in the headline
indicator can be attributed to a 1.0-percent m-o-m drop in prices for final-demand goods. In addition, prices for final-demand services slipped 0.3 percent
Excluding volatile prices for food and energy,
the PPI edged down 0.1 percent m-o-m, recording its first monthly decrease
since April 2020 (-0.3 percent m-o-m), and surged 3.4 percent over 12 months,
registering its weakest increase since March 2021 (+3.0 percent y-o-y).
Economists had forecast gains of 0.3 percent m-o-m and 3.4 percent y-o-y for March.
In February, the core PPI logged a 0.2 percent m-o-m advance (revised from flat
m-o-m in the initial estimate) and a 4.4 percent y-o-y jump.