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The acceleration of producer prices in February suggests that inflation could remain high in the spring

During the month of February, producer prices in the United States experienced a sharper increase than anticipated, raising concerns about a potential acceleration of inflation in the country.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics of the Department of Labor released reports on March 13, revealing that the Producer Price Index (PPI) for final demand rose by 0.6% in February. Additionally, there was a 1.2% increase in goods prices, accounting for nearly two-thirds of the total index increase. Over the last 12 months up to February, the Producer Price Index increased by 1.6%, compared to 1.0% in January.

En la imagen se muestra una gráfica haciendo referencia a la inflación

Government data also showed a significant increase in consumer prices for the second consecutive month in February. Wholesale gasoline prices surged by 6.8% last month, as did diesel and jet fuel prices. In contrast, prices for hay, hayseeds, oilseeds, iron and steel scrap, and asphalt declined. Food prices rose by 1%, driven by increases in egg and beef prices.

Prices for goods, excluding food and energy, rose by 0.3% in February, matching the increase observed in January. This phenomenon suggests that the deflationary trend in goods, which has significantly contributed to low inflation, may be coming to an end. On the other hand, services experienced a 0.3% increase in February, following a 0.5% increase the previous month.

Personal consumption expenditure price index

The Producer Price Index (PPI) provides a preview of consumer inflation and contributes to the Personal Consumption Expenditure Price Index, preferred by the Federal Reserve. According to economists at Capital Economics, the PPI suggests a monthly increase of 0.3% and an annual increase of 2.8% in the underlying prices of the Federal Reserve’s indicator, remaining stable compared to the previous month.

These data add to a recent report on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which increased by 0.4% from January to February, surpassing the 2% inflation target set by the Federal Reserve. On an annual basis, prices rose by 3.2%, up from 3.1% the previous month.

Although an increase was expected in January and February due to usual price adjustments at the beginning of the year, the acceleration of producer prices in February suggests that inflation could remain high in the spring. Financial markets anticipate that the U.S. Federal Reserve will begin to reduce interest rates in June.

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