Producer Price Index Release - Ahead of the Fed's FOMC Rate Decision Meeting

By
Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Preferred Properties

This morning, September 18th, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that The Producer Price Index for Finished Goods fell 1.4 percent in August, seasonally adjusted.  This decrease followed a 0.6-percent increase in July and a 0.2-percent decline in June.  At the earlier stages of processing, prices received by manufacturers of intermediate goods moved down 1.2-percent in August compared with a 0.6-percent advance in July, and the crude goods index dropped 3.0-percent after climbing 1.2-percent in the prior month.

Overall, however, Core PPI actually increased 0.2-percent in August.

The Producer Price Index (PPI) of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is a family of indexes that measure the average change over time in the prices  received by domestic producers of goods and services. PPIs measure price change from the perspective of the seller. This contrasts with other measures,  such as the Consumer Price Index (CPI). CPIs measure price change from the purchaser's perspective. Sellers' and purchasers' prices can differ due to  government subsidies, sales and excise taxes, and distribution costs.  (It is the index of Inflation at the "Wholesale" level.)

This report should provide increased pressure on the Federal Reserve to lower the Federal Funds Rate, and perhaps the likelihood of a rate cut of 0.5% has increased over most analysts' estimate of a 0.25% rate reduction.  How this continuing news of broad economic weakening is viewed by the Fed, with their primary focus on containing inflation will be more evident at 2:15 p.m. this afternoon, when the Fed will announce its decision.

After the BLS' release of the PPI numbers, early trading in the finance markets saw investors leaving bonds (increasing yields) and headed for the equity markets in anticipation of a larger-than-planned rate cut by the Fed, which would improve corporate profitability.

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