20 February 2013 17:25 [Source: ICIS news]
WASHINGTON (ICIS)--Price increases for organic chemicals and plastic resins at the wholesale level contributed to a narrow 0.2% advance in overall producer prices in January, the US Labor Department said on Wednesday.
In its monthly report, the department said that its producer price index (PPI) rose by 0.2% in January from December, the first gain in four months.
The index had seen declines of 0.2%, 0.4% and 0.3% in October, November and December, respectively.
The department said there were wildly differing trends in the two most volatile product areas, foods and energy products.
Food prices at the wholesale or producer level were up by 0.2% last month, driven by a sharp 39% jump in prices for vegetables, with price gains also seen in soft drinks, candy and nuts.
In contrast, energy products saw a 0.4% decline in January, led by a 2.1% drop in wholesale prices for gasoline.
With volatile food and energy products backed out of the overall total, the department said that the so-called core index for wholesale prices rose by 0.2% in January, driven largely by higher costs for pharmaceuticals and communications equipment.
In organic chemicals, the department said that prices at the producer level rose by 0.4% last month and followed gains of 0.4% in December and 0.2% in November.
Wholesale prices for plastic resins and materials shot up in January by 1.6%, the department said, marking a sharp departure from the 0.7% decline in December and November’s 0.6% drop.
Although the department tracks wholesale pricing for hundreds of commodities and end-use products, it does not provide analysis on reasons for price movements.
Paul Hodges studies key influences shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy
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