18 October 2011 14:46 [Source: ICIS news]
WASHINGTON (ICIS)--US wholesale prices for organic chemicals and plastic resins rose in September from August, the Department of Labor said on Tuesday, helping to drive a relatively sharp overall gain of 0.8% in prices at the wholesale level.
The seasonally adjusted 0.8% gain in prices at the producer level – also known as wholesale prices – was the highest advance since the 0.8% increase seen in April this year.
The September advance also was in marked contrast to the previous three months in which the department’s producer price index (PPI) was relatively flat and even declined by 0.1% in June.
In its monthly report, the department noted that September’s gain in wholesale prices was broad-based, with energy goods rising 2.3%, finished goods minus foods and energy up by 0.2% and producer prices for finished consumer foods gaining 0.6%.
Although the so-called core index of wholesale prices – all goods minus the volatile foods and energy categories – rose only 0.2% last month, that gain was the tenth straight monthly advance, a trend that might raise inflationary fears at the Federal Reserve Board.
The 0.6% gain in wholesale food prices also was seen as relatively sharp, but the department noted that more than 80% of that increase was attributed to a highly unusual 10% jump in vegetables pricing, probably due to drought-related crop shortages in the west and south of the US.
The department said that producer prices for basic organic chemicals rose by 1.1% in September from August. That gain in part reversed wholesale price declines of 1.6% in July and 1.2% in August.
Plastic resins and materials saw a significant 3.1% advance in prices at the producer level last month, the department said, more than offsetting the 2.2% decline reported for August and well ahead of the 2.1% gain seen in July.
The department collects and reports wholesale pricing data on hundreds of products and commodities each month, but it does not offer analysis of pricing movements.
Paul Hodges studies key influences shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy
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