US wholesale prices surge 11% in April as food costs soar 

Wholesale inflation in the US rose 11 percent in April from a year earlier, a sharp rise that suggests that high inflation will continue to drag consumers and businesses into the coming months.

The Labor Department said Thursday that the producer price index — which measures inflation before it reaches consumers — rose 0.5 percent in April from March. However, that is a slowdown from the previous month, when it rose 1.6 percent.

The 11 percent year-over-year increase in April is a slight decrease from March’s annual increase of 11.5%, the largest increase since records began in 2010.

Still, the April figure represents a painfully high gain, and stock index futures traded on Wednesday as inflation fears continued to weigh on Wall Street.

US wholesale inflation is up 11% in April from a year earlier, down slightly from March but still near record highs

Wholesale grain prices are up 41.3% year-on-year as the Russian war in Ukraine pushes world prices up.  Pictured: Rice being harvested in Mississippi in a file photo

Wholesale grain prices are up 41.3% year-on-year as the Russian war in Ukraine pushes world prices up. Pictured: Rice being harvested in Mississippi in a file photo

Thursday’s report showed a broad rise in the cost of food at the wholesale level, rising 41.3 percent for grains from a year ago when Russia’s war in Ukraine boosted world prices. Both Russia and Ukraine are major grain producers.

The cost of eggs shot up 161.3 percent, boosted by an outbreak of bird flu that killed 10 percent of chickens in the US. Processed young chickens increased by 24.1 percent compared to a year ago.

Fresh vegetables increased by 45.7 percent and fresh fruit by 17.3 percent.

Producer price data captures inflation at an earlier stage of production and can sometimes indicate where consumer prices are heading.

It also feeds into the Federal Reserve’s favorite measure of inflation, the personal consumer spending price index.

Thursday’s figures came just a day after the government released consumer price data for April, which showed inflation rose 8.3 percent last month from a year ago.

That increase is slightly below the March high of 8.5 percent in four decades. On a monthly basis, inflation rose by 0.3 percent in April compared to March, the smallest increase in eight months.

Still, there were plenty of signs in the consumer price report that inflation will remain stubbornly high, likely for the rest of this year and into 2023.

Rents rose faster as many apartment buildings increased monthly payments for new tenants.

Consumer price data for April showed inflation was up 8.3% from a year ago last month

Consumer price data for April showed inflation was up 8.3% from a year ago last month

Airfare prices rose the most in 1963 records. And food prices continued to rise sharply.

In the past year, food prices have risen 10.8 percent, the largest year-on-year increase since 1980. Food out-of-home was 7.2 percent higher than a year ago.

The price of a liter of petrol fell by 6.1 percent in April, but is still almost 44 percent higher than a year ago.

And so far in May, gas pump prices have skyrocketed again. Nationally, the average for a gallon of gas hit a record high of $4.40 on Wednesday, according to AAA.

The high oil price is the main factor. A barrel of US benchmark oil sold for about $100 a barrel on Tuesday. Gas had fallen to about $4.10 a gallon in April, after hitting its previous record of $4.32 in March.

President Joe Biden in a statement praised the dip in the annual headline inflation figure — which appears to be falling mainly because prices started rising a year ago, raising the basis for comparison.

Inflation in the US has fallen slightly from a four-decade high reached in March

Inflation in the US has fallen slightly from a four-decade high reached in March

“While it is encouraging to see annual inflation decreasing in April, the fact remains that inflation is unacceptably high,” Biden said. “As I said yesterday, inflation is a challenge for families across the country and reducing it is my top economic priority.”

Biden blamed chronic supply chains linked to the rapid economic recovery from the pandemic, as well as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, for fueling inflation.

He said his administration will help mitigate price hikes by reducing the government’s budget deficit and promoting competition in industries such as meat packaging, which are dominated by a few industry giants.

Republicans argue that Biden’s $1.9 trillion spending package last March overheated the economy by flooding it with stimulus measures, improved unemployment support and payments of child tax credits.

“Inflation has spiraled out of control with a new record for gas prices today, but Biden continues to lie to Americans and refuse to take responsibility for his failed agenda,” Republican National Committee chairman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement. in response to the latest report.

The reckless spending of ‘Biden and Democrats’ fueled the highest inflation in 40 years, and Americans are paying the price,” she added. Soaring prices, Biden’s gas hike and the deteriorating economy are on the agenda in November, and voters know Biden and the Democrats are to blame.

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