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Producer Prices Rise

Producer prices, a measure of inflation, increased more than expected for the year ending last month, the Washington Examiner reports.

What’s going on: The producer price index “rose to 1.6% for the year ending in February, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Thursday, much hotter than expected. The increase came after a slight decrease the month before. Most economists had forecast the inflation rate would rise to 1.1%.”

  • Month to month, the index rose 0.6%, twice the amount economists had anticipated.

The context: The PPI data arrive the same week as the consumer price index, which showed that consumer prices rose 3.2% last month from a year earlier.

Why it’s important: The news dampens hopes that the Federal Reserve will soon begin cutting interest rates.

  • “Investors and policymakers have recently become more optimistic that the Fed will be able to pull off a ‘soft landing,’ a scenario in which inflation falls back to the Fed’s 2% target rate while the broader economy avoids a recession. But expectations of rate cuts have now been pushed back.”

Good news: However, “the economy beat expectations” in February by adding 275,000 jobs, and unemployment remains low by historical standards.

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