US producer prices for resins fall in Nov, chemicals gain

13 December 2012 17:56  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS)--US producer prices for plastic resins fell by 0.6% in November from October, the Labor Department said on Thursday, while wholesale prices for basic organic chemicals saw a slight 0.2% bump for the month.

The November decline in producer prices – also known as wholesale prices – for resins partly offset a fairly substantial gain of 1.4% seen in October.

The department had reported a 0.3% gain for resins wholesale prices in September.

For chemicals, the 0.2% gain in producer prices last month essentially reversed the 0.2% decline reported for October.  A month earlier, in September, wholesale prices for organic chemicals recorded a sharp 3% rise.

Overall, the department said that its producer price index (PPI) for November fell by 0.8% and followed a 0.2% dip in October.

The 0.8% fall last month in overall wholesale prices for finished goods was driven almost entirely by a 4.6% decline in prices at the producer level for energy products, especially a 10.1% plummet in producer prices for gasolines.

Wholesale food prices rose by 1.3% in November, the department said, the sixth consecutive monthly gain.

But with the volatile price swings in food and energy products backed out of the overall figures, the department said the so-called core index for wholesale prices edged up by a slim 0.1% in November.

That narrow gain in the core index suggests that there is little indication at the wholesale level that retail prices will show any significant increases in the near term.

That in turn is significant because the US Federal Reserve Board said on Wednesday that it will keep key interest rates at or just above 0% as long as the nation’s unemployment rate remains above 6.5% and the inflation rate holds under 2.5%.

With the department’s PPI in steady decline since its most recent gain of 1.7% in August, there appears to be little threat of inflationary pressures.

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

By: Joe Kamalick
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