Producer Prices Grew 0.4% in October

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Rising costs for services in October drove U.S. wholesale inflation to its highest level in more than five years, according to government data released Tuesday. The uptick from October 2016 was the biggest since February 2012.

U.S. inflation is rising, at least at the producer level.

But energy prices were unchanged from September to October. Since the Great Recession, inflation has come in consistently below the Federal Reserve's 2 percent annual target.

The Producer Price Index, which tracks changes in the costs of wholesale goods and services, rose 0.4 per cent in October compared to the prior month, the Labor Department reported, handily beating analyst expectations of a rise of only 0.1 per cent.

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Meanwhile, services PPI was up 0.5 percent sequentially, owing to trade services that rose 1.1 percent and transport and warehousing that rose 0.8 percent.

Excluding the volatile categories of food and fuel, PPI was up 0.2 per cent for the month, and this "core" rate was up 2.3 per cent over October of previous year. The strong producer price readings probably did not translate into higher consumer prices in October as the correlation between the PPI and consumer price index has weakened. Excluding the volatile food and energy sectors, wholesale prices rose 0.3 in October from September. But many economists expect price pressures to rise as the economy improves. The so-called core PPI increased 2.3 percent in the 12 months through October after advancing 2.1 percent in September. The weakening dollar, which has this year lost 5.4 percent of its value against the currencies of the United States' main trading partners, could gradually lift core producer inflation.

The index for final demand goods advanced 0.3% in October, the third consecutive increase.

Healthcare increased 0.3%. The healthcare costs feed into the PCE which is the Fed's favored inflation measure.

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