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U.S. Producer Prices Unchanged in October on Weak Services

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Producer Prices
  • U.S. Producer Prices Unchanged in October on Weak Services

U.S. producer prices were unexpectedly flat in October as a rise in the cost of goods was offset by declining services costs.

The Labor Department said on Wednesday that the unchanged reading in its producer price index for final demand last month followed a 0.3 percent increase in September.

In the 12 months through October, the PPI increased 0.8 percent, the biggest gain since December 2014. That followed a 0.7 percent rise in September.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the PPI rising 0.3 percent last month and accelerating 1.2 percent from a year ago.

Longer-dated U.S. Treasury bonds erased losses after the report, while the dollar fell to session lows against the euro and the yen.

Goods prices, including energy, increased 0.4 percent last month after rising 0.7 percent in September. The cost of services declined 0.3 percent after edging up 0.1 percent in September.

Declining goods prices have been the main force keeping inflation benign. The drop has been driven by the a surge in the dollar from mid-2014 through January this year, as well a collapse in oil prices.

With the dollar’s rally appearing to have peaked and oil prices having bounced off multi-decade lows, the disinflationary impulse is easing, which could allow overall inflation to gradually rise toward the Federal Reserve’s 2 percent target.

Inflation could push higher in the coming years if president-elect Donald Trump presses ahead with his agenda to boost infrastructure and defense spending at a time when the economy is expected to be at full employment.

Last month, energy prices rose 2.5 percent after a similar gain in September. Wholesale food prices fell 0.8 percent after rising 0.5 percent in September.

The drop in prices for services last month was led by declining prices for the volatile trade services, which measure changes in margins received by wholesalers and retailers. They fell for a fourth straight month.

Healthcare costs increased 0.3 percent last month after edging up 0.1 percent in September. The cost of hospital care rose 0.3 percent, adding to September’s 0.4 percent gain.

These healthcare costs feed into the Fed’s preferred inflation measure, the core personal consumption expenditures index.

A key gauge of underlying producer price pressures that excludes food, energy and trade services dipped 0.1 percent after rising 0.3 percent in September.

The so-called core PPI increased 1.6 percent in the 12 months through October, the largest rise since September 2014. That followed a 1.5 percent increase in September.

(Reporting By Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Crude Oil

Oil Dips Below $62 in New York Though Banks Say Rally Can Extend

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Oil

Oil Dips Below $62 in New York Though Banks Say Rally Can Extend

Oil retreated from an earlier rally with investment banks and traders predicting the market can go significantly higher in the months to come.

Futures in New York pared much of an earlier increase to $63 a barrel as the dollar climbed and equities slipped. Bank of America said prices could reach $70 at some point this year, while Socar Trading SA sees global benchmark Brent hitting $80 a barrel before the end of the year as the glut of inventories built up during the Covid-19 pandemic is drained by the summer.

The loss of oil output after the big freeze in the U.S. should help the market firm as much of the world emerges from lockdowns, according to Trafigura Group. Inventory data due later Tuesday from the American Petroleum Institute and more from the Energy Department on Wednesday will shed more light on how the Texas freeze disrupted U.S. oil supply last week.

Oil has surged this year after Saudi Arabia pledged to unilaterally cut 1 million barrels a day in February and March, with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. predicting the rally will accelerate as demand outpaces global supply. Russia and Riyadh, however, will next week once again head into an OPEC+ meeting with differing opinions about adding more crude to the market.

“The freeze in the U.S. has proved supportive as production was cut,” said Hans van Cleef, senior energy economist at ABN Amro. “We still expect that Russia will push for a significant rise in production,” which could soon weigh on prices, he said.

PRICES

  • West Texas Intermediate for April fell 27 cents to $61.43 a barrel at 9:20 a.m. New York time
  • Brent for April settlement fell 8 cents to $65.16

Brent’s prompt timespread firmed in a bullish backwardation structure to the widest in more than a year. The gap rose above $1 a barrel on Tuesday before easing to 87 cents. That compares with 25 cents at the start of the month.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. and oil trader Vitol Group shot down talk of a new oil supercycle, though they said a lack of supply response will keep prices for crude prices firm in the short term.

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Crude Oil

Oil Prices Rise With Storm-hit U.S. Output Set for Slow Return

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Crude oil

Oil Prices Rise With Storm-hit U.S. Output Set for Slow Return

Oil prices rose on Monday as the slow return of U.S. crude output cut by frigid conditions served as a reminder of the tight supply situation, just as demand recovers from the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brent crude was up $1.38, or 2.2%, at $64.29 per barrel. West Texas Intermediate gained $1.38, or 2.33%, to trade at $60.62 per barrel.

Abnormally cold weather in Texas and the Plains states forced the shutdown of up to 4 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude production along with 21 billion cubic feet of natural gas output, analysts estimated.

Shale oil producers in the region could take at least two weeks to restart the more than 2 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude output affected, sources said, as frozen pipes and power supply interruptions slow their recovery.

“With three-quarters of fracking crews standing down, the likelihood of a fast resumption is low,” ANZ Research said in a note.

For the first time since November, U.S. drilling companies cut the number of oil rigs operating due to the cold and snow enveloping Texas, New Mexico and other energy-producing centres.

OPEC+ oil producers are set to meet on March 4, with sources saying the group is likely to ease curbs on supply after April given a recovery in prices, although any increase in output will likely be modest given lingering uncertainty over the pandemic.

“Saudi Arabia is eager to pursue yet higher prices in order to cover its social break-even expenses at around $80 a barrel while Russia is strongly focused on unwinding current cuts and getting back to normal production,” said SEB chief commodity analyst Bjarne Schieldrop.

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Crude Oil

Crude Oil Rose Above $65 Per Barrel as US Production Drop Due to Texas Weather

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oil

Crude Oil Rose Above $65 Per Barrel as US Production Drop Due to Texas Weather

Oil prices rose to $65.47 per barrel on Thursday as crude oil production dropped in the US due to frigid Texas weather.

The unusual weather has left millions in the dark and forced oil producers to shut down production. According to reports, at least the winter blast has claimed 24 lives.

Brent crude oil gained $2 to $65.47 on Thursday morning before pulling back to $64.62 per barrel around 11:00 am Nigerian time.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose 2.3 percent to settle at $61.74 per barrel.

“This has just sent us to the next level,” said Bob Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizuho in New York. “Crude oil WTI will probably max out somewhere pretty close to $65.65, refinery utilization rate will probably slide to somewhere around 76%,” Yawger said.

However, the report that Saudi Arabia plans to increase production in the coming months weighed on crude oil as it can be seen in the chart below.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, Saudi Arabian Energy Minister, warned that it was too early to declare victory against the COVID-19 virus and that oil producers must remain “extremely cautious”.

“We are in a much better place than we were a year ago, but I must warn, once again, against complacency. The uncertainty is very high, and we have to be extremely cautious,” he told an energy industry event.

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