New York Times: The dollar is down but should anyone care?

Section:

By Rex Nutting
CBSMarketWatch
Tuesday, November 16, 2004

http://cbs.marketwatch.com/news/story.asp?guid=%7B2C7FC1E7%2D386E%
2D44C0%2D953F%2D658B0C6907AF%7D&siteid=mktw&dist=

WASHINGTON -- U.S. producer prices increased 1.7
percent in October, the fastest rate in 14 years, the
Labor Department estimated Tuesday.

Most of the inflation in finished goods prices came
from volatile food and energy categories. October's
core PPI rate, which excludes food and energy, rose
a more moderate 0.3 percent for the second straight
month.

The headline figure stunned Wall Street economists,
who were expecting a much milder 0.6 percent gain
in the PPI and a 0.2 percent rise in the core rate,
according to a survey conducted by CBS MarketWatch.

The PPI, which advanced just 0.1 percent in September,
is now up 4.4 percent in the past 12 months, while the
core rate is 1.8 percent higher measured over the same
interval.

Finished energy prices jumped 6.8 percent in October,
including a 17.3 percent rise in wholesale gasoline
prices. Similarly, home heating oil prices rose 17.9
percent, while electric power rose 2.3 percent -- the
biggest gain in nearly 14 years.

Meanwhile, finished food prices increased 1.6 percent,
as wholesale vegetable prices skyrocketed 34.2 percent.

Finished capital goods prices increased 0.4 percent,
including a 2.7 percent rise in light motor trucks and a
2.7 percent increase in construction machinery and
equipment prices, a 24-year high.

Finished consumer goods prices excluding food and
energy increased 0.2 percent in October. Passenger
car prices fell 1.3 percent as the government
implemented quality adjustments for the 2005 model
year.

By comparison, price pressures were tamer further
back in the production cycle.

Intermediate goods prices rose 0.9 percent in October,
yielding a 12-month increase of 9 percent.

Intermediate energy goods prices rose 4.3 percent
during October, with core intermediate goods prices
gaining by 0.3 percent. However, intermediate food
prices fell for the fifth straight month.

At the crude level, prices increased 4.3 percent in
October, including a 7.9 percent gain in crude energy
prices. Prices for basic industrial materials climbed
5.4 percent, including a 15.4 percent increase in iron
and steel scrap.

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