U.S. Producer Prices Increase 0.5% In April, In Line With Estimates

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Producer prices in the U.S. increased in line with economist estimates in the month of April, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Thursday.

The Labor Department said its producer price index for final demand rose by 0.5 percent in April after surging by an upwardly revised 1.6 percent in March.

Economists had expected producer prices to advance by 0.5 percent compared to the 1.4 percent jump originally reported for the previous month.

The report showed energy prices surged by 1.7 percent in April after soaring by 6.4 percent in March, while food prices shot up by 1.5 percent after spiking by 2.5 percent.

Excluding prices for food, energy and trade services, core producer prices climbed by 0.6 percent in April following a 0.9 percent increase in March.

Prices for services came in unchanged in April after jumping by 1.2 percent in March, as a spike in prices for transportation and warehousing services was offset by lower prices for trade and other services.

The report showed the annual rate of growth in producer prices slowed to 11.0 percent in April from a record high 11.5 percent in March, although economists had expected a bigger slowdown to 10.7 percent.

Core producer prices in April were up by 6.9 percent compared to a year ago, reflecting a modest slowdown from the 7.1 percent spike seen in March.

"Coupled with yesterday's modest reprieve in consumer price inflation, the latest PPI data offer tentative signs that price pressures perhaps peaked early in Q2," said Mahir Rasheed, US Economist at Oxford Economics.

"Still, with demand remaining fairly buoyant and the supply side of the economy facing persistent supply-side headwinds, it may be too early to celebrate April's moderation in the PPI," he added. "We remain patient and will look for future PPI readings to confirm whether inflation pressures are indeed subsiding."

The Labor Department released a separate report on Wednesday showing the annual rate of U.S. consumer price growth slowed by less than expected in the month of April.

The report said consumer prices in April were up by 8.3 percent compared to the same month a year ago. While the annual rate of growth slowed from a 40-year high of 8.5 percent in March, economists had expected the pace of growth to slow to 8.1 percent.

The annual rate of growth in core consumer prices, which exclude food and energy prices, also slowed to 6.2 percent in April from 6.5 percent in March, although the rate was expected to decelerate to 6.0 percent.

On a monthly basis, the Labor Department said its consumer price index rose by 0.3 percent in April after surging by 1.2 percent in March. Economists had expected prices to edge up by 0.2 percent.

Excluding food and energy prices, core consumer prices climbed 0.6 percent in April after rising by 0.3 percent in March. Core prices were expected to increase by 0.4 percent.

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