PPI: -1% January 08 to 09, Due to -18.4% Energy Prices and +1.8% Food Prices

The US Producer Price Index, which measures inflation at the business and manufacturing levels of the economy, was +0.8% in January and -1.0% year-over-year through January. Excluding volatile oil and food costs from the readings, “Core” PPI for January was +0.4% and +4.2% YOY through January. Here’s a link to the December PPI which includes complete PPI numbers for 4Q2008. You can also view and download historical PPI data by scrolling down to our Data section on the right side of the site.

Energy prices, driven by oil declines, dropped -18.4% for December. And food was barely up at +1.8% for the month. Inflation is no longer a large concern, and deflation is now a bigger worry. Core year-over-year PPI is still higher than the Fed’s inflation comfort zone of 1-2% but the monthly figure is holding at lows again as aggregate demand drops because businesses and consumers are weak.

Tomorrow we’ll have the consumer inflation report.