U.S. wholesale prices jumped in October to their biggest gain in six years but overall inflation pressures remain moderate.
The Labor Department reported Friday that the producer price index rose 0.6% in October, after a 0.2% increase in September. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected a 0.2% gain last month.
For the 12 months ended in October, producer prices were up 2.9% from 2.6% the prior month.
But according to CNBC, the numbers “suggest inflation pressures are mostly in check. The year-over-year price increase is lower than it was in the summer, when it topped 3 percent. And oil prices declined in October, which will likely to lower gas costs in the coming months.”
Excluding the volatile food and energy categories, core wholesale prices rose 0.5% in October and 2.6% from a year earlier.
“Inflation is unquestionably higher than it was a year or two ago, but price pressures appear to have paused lately,” MarketWatch said.
“Although wholesale prices are running close to a 3% annual pace, other inflation measures that better reflect what households and businesses pay have leveled off around 2%,” it added. “That’s precisely where the Federal Reserve would like them to stay.”
The Fed has been steadily raising interest rates to keep inflation from getting out of hand. Policymakers finished a meeting Thursday without hiking rates again, issuing a statement that suggested it saw little sign that inflation would accelerate beyond its 2 % target.
Friday’s report showed that wholesale gas prices rose 7.6% in October and food costs increased 1%. There was also a notable increase in the wholesale cost of machinery, equipment, parts and other industrial supplies that companies rely on, a possible indication that both strong demand and U.S. tariffs on products such as steel are raising costs for business.
“A growing number of economists think overall inflation will creep above 2% in the next year owing to strong U.S. growth, an uber-tight labor market that’s pushing up wages and the effect of tariffs,” MarketWatch said.