The Labor Department reported this morning that the producer price index inched just 0.1% higher in October, as volatile energy prices slipped 0.8% lower during the month. Food prices added 1.0% during October, down from their 1.5% increase the month before. The price of food is rising at a faster pace than energy, due to rising feed costs and strong demand for grains. The core producer price index, which excludes food and energy prices, was flat with the prior month's reading. The figures were milder than expected; economists had targeted a gain of 0.1% for both the PPI and the core PPI.
In other economic news, the Commerce Department stated that U.S. retail sales gained 0.2% in October, down from a revised 0.7% rise in September. Retail sales have risen 5.2% during the past 12 months. Sales at gas stations jumped 0.8% in October, cooling off from September's 1.8% climb. Motor vehicle sales gained 0.2%; excluding autos, retail sales held steady at a 0.2% gain for October and a 5.2% gain for the year. Excluding both autos and gasoline, retail sales added 0.1%. Economists were expecting retail sales to gain 0.1% in October, or 0.3% excluding autos.