Wholesale prices fell 1.9 percent in December, seasonally adjusted, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported. This decrease followed a 2.2-percent decline in November and a 2.8-percent drop in October.
At the earlier stages of processing, prices received by producers of intermediate goods fell 4.2 percent in December after decreasing 4.3 percent in the prior month, and the crude goods index declined 5.3 percent following a 12.5-percent drop in November. The slower rate of decrease in finished goods prices was led by the index for energy goods, which fell 9.3 percent in December after declining 11.2 percent in November.
Prices for finished goods other than foods and energy (core inflation) rose 0.2 percent in December compared with a 0.1-percent increase in the preceding month. By contrast, partially offsetting the slower rate of decline in the finished goods index, prices for consumer foods moved down 1.5 percent following no change in November.
Before seasonal adjustment, the Producer Price Index for Finished Goods decreased 1.9 percent in December to 168.8 (1982 = 100).
In 2008, finished goods prices fell 0.9 percent compared with a 6.2-percent advance in 2007. The 2008 downturn is mostly attributable to energy prices, which dropped 20.3 percent after rising 17.8 percent a year earlier. Price increases for finished consumer foods slowed to 3.7 percent in 2008 from 7.6 percent in 2007.
Conversely, the index for finished goods other than foods and energy advanced 4.3 percent in 2008 following a 2.0-percent gain in the preceding year. At the earlier stages of processing, prices received by manufacturers of intermediate goods fell 1.7 percent in 2008 after rising 7.1 percent in the prior year, and the crude goods index dropped 25.0 percent following a 19.8-percent jump in 2007.