The Producer Price Index for Final Demand fell 0.5% in March, a significant decline after the index remained unchanged in February, according to data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on April 13.
The 0.5% decrease, the index’s largest decline since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, is potentially a sign of further easing inflation in the coming months. Economists polled by the Wall Street Journal had forecast no change in the producer price index. On an unadjusted basis, the index for final demand rose 2.7% for the past 12 months ending in March.
Last month, the decline in the final demand index was led by prices for final demand goods, which decreased 1%, according to BLS. The index for final demand services fell 0.3%.
The index for final demand aside from foods, energy and trade services increased 0.3% in March after rising 0.2% in February. For the past 12 months ending in March, prices for final demand less foods, energy and trade services were up 3.6%.
The index for final demand goods fell 1% in March following a 0.3% decrease in February, according to BLS. A 6.4% drop in the index for final demand energy was a significant factor in the March decline. The index for final demand foods, however, increased 0.6%.
“Eighty percent of the March decline in the index for final demand goods can be traced to an 11.7-percent drop in prices for gasoline,” BLS said in the report. “The indexes for diesel fuel, residential natural gas, jet fuel, electric power, and fresh and dry vegetables also fell. Conversely, prices for light motor trucks increased 0.7 percent. The indexes for chicken eggs and for meats also moved higher.”