United States shopper costs rose a modest 0.2 % in April

Lukewarm inflation data lifts Wall St

The April increase in the Labor Department's producer price index, which measures inflation pressures before they reach consumers, followed a 0.3 percent rise in March, the government reported Wednesday.

The yield on 10-year Treasuries sank four basis points to 2.96 percent, the biggest tumble in two weeks.

Excluding the volatile food and energy components, the CPI edged up 0.1 percent after two successive monthly increases of 0.2 percent.

The core CPI reading brought the three-month annualized gain to 1.8%, the lowest since July, after 2.9%. This was a decline from the 0.2 percent core CPI rose in March and February.

Food prices also rose, as did medical services, but cell phone services - which had been blamed for the bafflingly low inflation previous year - were flat after finally rising in March. Food consumed at home increased 0.3%, the biggest gain since March 2017.


Economists expect the core personal consumption expenditure (PCE) price index, which had increased 1.6% in February, to breach its target in May.

According to some commodity analysts, the inflation data is positive for gold because it shows that price pressures are moving up but not at a pace that warrants aggressive action from the USA central bank. Today's report continues a four-month trend of surging inflation, with the CPI-U index rising 1.62% over that period.

For the month, gasoline prices rose 3.0% and are up 13.4% over the past year. Apparel prices were also up 0.3%. He added that if economic growth remains strong the US central bank is on target to raise interest rates in June, despite the weak inflation data, . Those numbers indicate moderate inflation, but the 12-month increase of 2.5% indicates steadily climbing inflation.

The cost of recreation fell 0.4 per cent last month, the biggest decline since December 2009. In April, gasoline prices jumped 3.0 percent, even as other energy costs went down.

In another report on Thursday, the Labor Department's first-time applications for state unemployment benefits were unchanged at a seasonally adjusted 211,000 for the week ended May 5. That has led to a slowdown in job growth as employers struggle to find skilled workers. There were also decreases in the cost of airline tickets, new motor vehicles and communications. The jobless rate is within striking distance of the Fed's forecast of 3.8 per cent by the end of this year.

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