U.S. producers now face the reality of deflation.The Producer Price Index (PPI) for final demand slumped 0.3% month-on-month in May, down from the previous 0.2% monthly increase and below the expected 0.1% fall, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Wednesday.
WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 14: U.S. Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell speaks during a news conference following a meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) at the headquarters of the Federal Reserve on June 14, 2023, in Washington, DC. After a streak of ten interest rate increases, Powell announced that rates will remain steady and unchanged. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
The PPI print follows the May consumer price index (CPI) reading, which came in lower than expected, supporting market belief that the Fed is nearing the end of its interest rate hike cycle.
The market focus is now on the upcoming interest rate decision by the Federal Reserve, as a press conference was held by Chair Jerome Powell regarding the interest hike. Investors are almost fully anticipating a pause in the Fed’s hike cycle, but their attention will be on whether this is regarded as a permanent halt or simply a skip.
Massive Migrant Caravan Marches Toward US with LGBT Flags Flying as Mexican President Snubs Biden at Summit WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 14: U.S. Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell speaks during a news conference following a meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) at the headquarters of the Federal Reserve on June 14, 2023 in Washington, DC. After a streak of ten interest rate increases, Powell announced that rates will remain steady and unchanged. (Photo by DREW ANGERER/Getty Images)
Powell remains committed to brining the interest rate to 2% as the goals with inflation a high above 4% in the interest rate.
“We understand the hardship that high inflation is causing, and we remain strongly committed to bring inflation back down to our 2% goal,” said Powell in commitment to his goal. “The process of getting inflation down is going to be a gradual one — it’s going to take some time.”
Headline PPI inflation fell 0.3% from a month ago. In annual terms, producer prices came in 1.1% higher from a year ago, falling short of the expected 1.5%. This marks the lowest producer inflation rate since December 2020.
Core PPI inflation, which excludes foods and energy, ticked 0.2% higher on the month, in line with both the reading in April and expectations. In annual terms, the core PPI was 2.8% higher, slightly lower than the expected 2.9% and down from 3.2% in April.
Most of the May decline is attributable to the index for final demand energy, which dropped 6.8%.
Transportation and warehousing fell 1.4% on the month, marking the fifth straight negative monthly reading, certifying a freight recession.
“With inflation set to moderate noticeably, we are skeptical that the Fed will resume hiking interest rates,” Ryan Sweet, chief U.S. economist of Oxford Economics, wrote in a note. “Our baseline forecast is for the Fed to remain on hold through the remainder of this year before gradually easing in early 2024.”
Sixty percent of the May decline in the PPI for final demand goods can be attributed to a 13.8% drop in gasoline prices.
Treasury yields moved lower, with the 10-year yield down by 2 basis points to 3.8% and the two-year yield down 4 basis points to 4.63%.
The dollar, as closely tracked by the Invesco DB USD Index Bullish Fund ETF (NYSE:UUP), extended losses for the session, falling 0.3% on the day.
Futures contracts on the S&P 500 index, which is tracked by the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE:SPY) were mostly flat ahead of the opening bell on Wall Street.
Produced in association with Benzinga
Edited by Alberto Arellano and Kyana Jeanin Rubinfeld
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