Wholesale prices in the U.S. dropped
in April by the most in three years, reflecting a decrease in
fuel costs that is helping underpin profits.
The producer-price index declined 0.7 percent, the biggest
decrease since February 2010, after falling 0.6 percent in
March, according to a Labor Department report released today in
Washington. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of 73
economists projected the index would decline 0.6 percent. So-called core wholesale inflation, which excludes often-volatile
food and energy prices, climbed 0.1 percent.
Slow growth in the U.S. and abroad is holding input-price
gains in check for American factories. Absent a surge in
inflation, policy makers at the Federal Reserve have the option
of weighing whether the U.S. economic expansion needs more
stimulus to pick up.
“We’ve seen a moderation in inflation across the board,
given the weak demand environment everywhere,” Sam Bullard, a
senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities LLC in Charlotte,
North Carolina, said before the report. “Inflation is just not
problematic to central bankers, particularly those at the Fed.”