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US producer prices rebound in September

Howard Schneider

US producer prices increased 0.2 per cent in September, reversing an unexpected decline in August and in line with expectations.

A rise in services prices offset a slight drop in prices for goods, including a 3.5 per cent drop in petrol prices. Final demand prices had fallen 0.1 per cent in August. In the 12 months through September, the producer price index rose 2.6 per cent, slightly less than expected.

Yields on Treasury bonds rose and inflation adjusted securities were little changed after the report.

Data on producer prices feed into inflation indicators watched by the Federal Reserve, which has been raising rates in hopes of keeping a price index based on personal consumption expenditures near the central bank's 2 per cent target.

The Fed raised rates last month for the third time this year and is expected to do so again in December.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the PPI increasing 0.2 per cent in September and advancing 2.8 per cent year-on-year.

A key gauge of underlying producer price pressures that excludes food, energy and trade services rose 0.4 per cent last month, the largest increase since January. The so-called core PPI had risen 0.1 per cent in August.

In the 12 months through September, the core PPI rose 2.9 per cent, the same as the month before.

The report also hinted at the ongoing impact of the Trump administration's trade policies. Prices for oilseeds fell 3.9 per cent from August to September. Soybeans have been the target of trade actions by China in retaliation for US imposed tariffs.

Prices for steel mill products were unchanged month over month, but have risen 18 per cent since September 2017. Trump imposed a 25 per cent levy on imported steel in the spring.