US wholesale prices for chemicals, plastics show slowing gains

11 May 2012 15:09  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS)--US wholesale prices for organic chemicals and plastic resins rose slightly in April from March, the Department of Labor said on Friday, while overall prices for finished goods at the producer level edged down.

In its monthly producer price index (PPI) report, the department said wholesale prices for basic organic chemicals rose by 1.6% in April.

That fairly modest advance for chemicals was in contrast to much sharper gains of 4.4% in March and 6.4% in February.

In plastic resins, the department said producer prices rose by a narrow 0.1% in April.

As in chemicals, that slim advance in resins pricing came after a somewhat stronger gain of 0.5% in March and February’s 0.3% increase.

Overall, the department said prices at the wholesale level last month fell by 0.2%, continuing a general downward trend of recent months.

The producer price index had seen a 0.4% gain in February but was flat in March.

The April decline in the PPI was attributed almost wholly to a 1.4% drop in wholesale prices for energy goods, the largest decline since the 1.5% drop in October last year.

Within the energy goods segment, wholesale gasoline prices fell by 1.7% last month.

With data on energy and food products backed out of the overall producer prices figures, the department said that its so-called “core index” for wholesale prices rose by 0.2% in April.

The core index is viewed as a more reliable indicator of potential pricing pressure at the downstream retail stage because fuel and food prices often fluctuate widely at the producer level.

Paul Hodges studies key influencers shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy

By: Joe Kamalick
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