US producer prices ticked upward in June while the cost of energy and other goods fell for the second month in a row. The Labor Department released a report on Friday stating that the producer price index (PPI) rose by 0.1% in June after a similar gain in May. The gain was in line with market expectations.
- The PPI rose by 0.1% in June as expected, matching the gain seen in May.
- The cost of energy and other goods dropped, offsetting a boost in services.
- June saw the smallest annual increase in producer inflation in over two years.
The Labor Department stated that June PPI rose 1.7% annually, the smallest gain since January 2017 after similarly low gains of 1.8% in May. The June dip was actually 0.1% higher than expected. Underlying producer prices slowed down last month, lending credence to the view that overall inflation pressures could remain muted or moderate throughout 2019.
Excluding the volatile components of food, energy, and trade services components, producer prices saw no change in June after a 0.4% gain in May and April. Core-PPI rose 2.1% annually through June after a more robust 2.3% gain in May.
Wholesale energy prices dipped 3.1% after dropping 1% in May. The cost of goods dropped 0.4% overall last month, double the decline seen in May, and gasoline prices fell by 5%, accounting for most of the drop in the cost of goods.
Wholesale food prices recovered by 0.6% in June, and core goods prices remained unchanged for the third month in a row. Service costs rose 0.4% in June, the biggest gain since October 2018, following a 0.3% gain in May. The increase was attributed to a rise in margins received by wholesalers and retailers. Healthcare services rose 0.2% in June and May.
Producer Price index pic.twitter.com/NPhUZGu1Mp
— Geoffrey (@Geoffrey2313819) July 12, 2019
Low Inflation Pressure
The data supports the case for the central bank to implement rate cuts at the end of July, with low inflation pressures a primary factor in monetary policymaking as well as turbulence from the ongoing trade war with China and a general economic slowdown seen worldwide. If the rate cuts go ahead it will be the first measure of its kind in ten years.
Following the preferred measure of inflation, core-PCE, the Federal Reserve has undershot its target inflation range of 2% and recently downgraded inflation projections for 2019 from 1.8% to 1.5%, making the rate cuts all the more likely. Core-PCE rose to 1.6% annually in May, below expectations. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell told US lawmakers that the Fed would “act as appropriate” to mitigate risks to the economy.
Gold prices have faced some selling pressure following the report, but remain up on the day. Gold traders may be reluctant to part with their save haven asset coming into the weekend, and spot gold is trading in a tight range last priced at $1,410.06/oz, up 0.41% with a high of $1,412.08/oz and a low of $1,402.62/oz.