The Bureau of Labor Statistics said that producer prices for final demand goods and services edged down 0.1 percent in March, falling for the first time in seven months. For manufacturers, producer prices for final demand goods were also off by 0.1 percent, led lower by reduced energy costs, down 2.9 percent for the month. Still, on a year-over-year basis, final demand energy prices have risen 15.3 percent. At the same time, food prices jumped 0.9 percent in March, its strongest monthly gain since December. Higher costs for cooking oils, eggs, fruits, meats and vegetables were enough to offset lower prices for coffee, dairy products, grains, milled rice and oilseeds. Since March 2016, food prices have inched up 0.3 percent, its first positive year-over-year gain since February 2015.
Excluding food and energy, final demand goods prices for producers increased by 0.4 percent in March. Overall, producer prices for final demand goods and services have risen 2.3 percent since March 2016, its highest year-over-year rate since March 2012. Moreover, it represents a notable pickup in inflationary pressures after being unchanged in August. Meanwhile, core producer prices – which exclude food, energy and trade services – grew 1.75 percent year-over-year in March, up slightly from 1.7 percent in February. That year-over-year pace was the fastest rate since August 2014.