Wholesale prices down by 0.1% in July
WASHINGTON — Prices at the wholesale level slipped in July, the first decline in 11 months and further evidence that inflation remains a no-show in the economy.
The Labor Department said Thursday that its producer price index, which measures inflation pressures before they reach the consumer, edged down 0.1 percent last month, reflecting a third month of declines in energy prices and a flat reading for food. The July result followed a 0.1 percent gain in June. It was the first drop in wholesale prices since a decline of 0.2 percent last August.
Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy costs, also fell last month by 0.1 percent. Over the past 12 months, wholesale prices are up a moderate 1.9 percent, while core prices have risen 1.8 percent.
Inflation has been low throughout this economic recovery. For the past five years, it has fallen below the Federal Reserve’s target for annual price gains of 2 percent a year. At the beginning of this year, inflation by a gauge preferred by the Fed did climb as high as 2.2 percent in February compared with a year ago. But it has since backtracked and in June registered a 12-month gain of just 1.4 percent.
The Labor Department will release its report on consumer prices today.