U.S. wholesale prices up 0.8% in April

Marketplace Staff May 12, 2011
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U.S. wholesale prices up 0.8% in April

Marketplace Staff May 12, 2011
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STEVE CHIOTAKIS: The price of goods at the wholesale level was up again last month. The government said today the nation’s producer price index rose eight-tenths of a percent.

Michelle Meyer is an economist with Bank of America Merrill Lynch. She’s with us live from New York this morning with some analysis. Good morning.

MICHELLE MEYER: Good morning.

CHIOTAKIS: Put this into a little context for us. Where’s the thrust of this increase coming from?

MEYER: Well, it’s no surprise that the main source for higher wholesale costs comes from the big rise we’ve seen in commodity prices — particularly oil prices. And that’s really driving up that headline number of PPI — or whole sale prices. But once you dig into the details a little bit more it does look like more finish products. We’re not seeing quite as much upward price pressure.

CHIOTAKIS: More finished products. Explain that for me.

MEYER: So if you look at some of the components, think about consumer goods, passenger cars for example. Their prices are edging higher but it’s a very gradual increase. Computers, motor trucks, air crafts — all these things, they’re clearly influenced buy high commodity prices where producers are having a tough time passing on the higher costs to that end results.

CHIOTAKIS: I want to very quickly, Michelle, talk about oil that’s down now — what? Seventeen, 18 percent from highs just a few weeks ago. Does that mean, very quickly, we shouldn’t be worried about inflation?

MEYER: It means that some of the inflation fears should be declining certainly. If we see oil prices continue to fall it means that inflation pressures are being reduced over time. And that’s a good thing for the economy right now. High oil prices — those are a drag to consumer and business budgets and in this stage in the recovery, it’s clearly not what we need.

CHIOTAKIS: Economist Michelle Meyer from Bank of America. Thanks.

MEYER: Any time.

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