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Wholesale Prices Rise 1.1% in December

Wholesale prices (finished goods index) rose 1.1 percent in December, seasonally adjusted, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. This advance followed increases of 0.8 percent in November and 0.4 percent in October and marks the sixth straight rise in finished goods prices.

At the earlier stages of processing, prices received by manufacturers of intermediate goods moved up 1 percent, and the crude goods index increased 4 percent. On an unadjusted basis, prices for finished goods advanced 4 percent in 2010 after climbing 4.3 percent in 2009.

About three-fourths of the December rise in the finished goods index can be traced to prices for energy goods, which increased 3.7 percent. Also contributing to the broad-based advance in the finished goods index, prices for consumer foods and for goods other than foods and energy moved up 0.8 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively.

The Producer Price Index for Intermediate Materials, Supplies, and Components moved up 1.0 percent in December, its fifth consecutive monthly advance. Accounting for about two-thirds of the broad-based December increase, prices for intermediate energy goods rose 3.1 percent. The indexes for both intermediate materials less foods and energy and for intermediate foods and feeds also contributed to this advance, rising 0.4 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively. In 2010, prices for intermediate goods climbed 6.5 percent after increasing 2.9 percent in 2009.

The Producer Price Index for Crude Materials for Further Processing increased 4.0 percent in December. For the three months ended in December, crude goods prices advanced 9.0 percent following a 4.6-percent rise for the three months ended in September. Accounting for about seventy percent of the December monthly increase, the index for crude energy materials climbed 7.7 percent. Also contributing to this broad-based advance, prices for crude nonfood materials less energy and for crude foodstuffs and feedstuffs moved up 3.1 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively.

The Producer Price Index for the Net Output of Total Trade Industries was unchanged in December after falling in each of the previous two months. (Trade indexes measure changes in margins received by wholesalers and retailers.) In December, higher margins received by department stores and merchant wholesalers of durable goods were offset by declining margins for merchant wholesalers of nondurable goods and gasoline stations. In 2010, the total trade industries index rose 1.1 percent.

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