Wholesale prices rose 0.4% in September, more than expected as inflation persists

Wholesale prices rise 0.4% in September, higher than expectations

Wholesale prices rose more than expected in September despite Federal Reserve efforts to control inflation, according to a report Wednesday from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The producer price index, a measure of prices that U.S. businesses get for the goods and services they produce, increased 0.4% for the month, compared with the Dow Jones estimate for a 0.2% gain. On a 12-month basis, PPI rose 8.5%, which was a slight deceleration from the 8.7% in August.

Excluding food, energy and trade services, the index increased 0.4% for the month and 5.6% from a year ago, the latter matching the August increase.

Food prices helped boost the increase in goods inflation, with a 1.2% monthly increase. Energy rose 0.7% after posting massive gains the previous two months.

Inflation has been the economy’s biggest issue over the past year as the cost of living is running near its highest level in more than 40 years.

The Fed has responded by raising rates five times this year for a total of 3 percentage points and is widely expected to implement a fourth consecutive 0.75 percentage point increase when it meets again in three weeks.

“Inflationary momentum has built up in the U.S. economy and will persist near-term, keeping the Fed hiking aggressively,” said Bill Adams, chief economist for Comerica Bank.

A worker installs the instrument cluster for the Ford Motor Co. battery powered F-150 Lightning trucks under production at their Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn, Michigan on September 20, 2022.

Jeff Kowalsky | AFP | Getty Images

However, Wednesday’s data shows the Fed still has work to do. Indeed, Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester on Tuesday said “there has been no progress on inflation.” Following the PPI release, traders priced in an 81.3% chance of a three-quarter point hike, the same as a day ago.

Stock market futures trimmed gains following the news, while Treasury yields were little changed on the session.

The PPI release comes a day ahead of the more closely watched consumer price index. The two differ in that PPI measures the prices received at the wholesale level while CPI gauges the prices that consumers pay.

Some two-thirds of the increase in PPI was attributed to a 0.4% gain in services, the BLS said. A big contributor to that increase was a 6.4% jump in prices received for traveler accommodation services.

Final demand goods prices also rose 0.4% on the month, pushed by a 15.7% advance in the index for fresh and dry vegetables.