Friday, April 13, 2012
Producer prices OK, construction puzzling
Posted by David Smith at 10:30 AM
Category: Thoughts and responses

It is unfortunate that the Office for National Statistics chose to release two of its hard to interpret sets of data on the same day, The producer price numbers are easiest to interpret. They show the pressure from rising energy and commodity prices persists, with industry's raw material and fuel costs up 1.9% in march. But, because of helpful base effects, the annual rate dropped from 7.8% to 5.8%.

Base effects also helped convert a monthly rise of 0.6% in output prices into a drop in the annual rate from 4.1% to 3.6%, its lowest since January 2010, and there was unequivocal good news in a tiny 0.1% monthly rise in "core" output prices. More here.

More difficult are the construction figures, not least because they are not seasonally adjusted. in February they were 4.6% down on a year earlier, though in December-February they showed a 0.2% increase on a year ago. Even so, it appears that construction will need to show a spectacular March rise if the sector is not to reduce gross domestic product in the first quarter. More here.