Wholesale prices surge 11% in April as food costs soar 

Posted 4 days ago


Wholesale inflation in the US soared 11 percent in April from a year earlier, a hefty gain that indicates high inflation will continue drag down consumers and businesses in the months ahead.

The Labor Department said Thursday that its producer price index - which measures inflation before it reaches consumers - climbed 0.5 percent in April from March. That is a slowdown from the previous month, however, when it jumped 1.6 percent.

The 11 percent year-over-year increase in April is a slight decline from the 11.5 percent annual gain in March, which was the biggest increase since records began in 2010.

Still, the April figure represents a painfully high increase, and stock index futures traded down on Wednesday as inflation fears continued to weigh on Wall Street.

Thursday's report showed a broad-based rise in the cost of food at the wholesale level, with grains up 41.3 percent from a year ago as Russia's war in Ukraine raises world prices. Both Russia and Ukraine are major grain producers.

The cost of eggs skyrocketed 161.3 percent, driven up by a bird flu outbreak that has killed 10 percent of chickens in the US. Processed young chickens were up 24.1 percent from a year ago.

Fresh vegetables were up 45.7 percent and fresh fruit rose 17.3 percent.

The producer price data captures inflation at an earlier stage of production and can sometimes signal where consumer prices are headed.

It also feeds into the Federal Reserve's preferred measure of inflation, the personal consumption expenditures price index.

Thursday's figures came just a day after the government released consumer price data for April, which showed that inflation leapt 8.3 percent last month from a year ago.

That increase is down slightly from the four-decade high in March of 8.5 percent. On a monthly basis, inflation rose 0.3 percent in April from March, the smallest increase in eight months.

Still, there were plenty of signs in the consumer price report that inflation will remain stubbornly high, likely for the rest of this year and into 2023.

Rents rose faster as many apartment buildings have lifted monthly payments for new tenants.

Prices for airline tickets jumped by the most on records dating to 1963. And food prices continued to rise sharply.

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