Inflation in Check as Wholesale Prices Inch Up

This May 29, 2019, photo shows a farm outside Morgantown, Pa. (AP Photo/Jacqueline Larma, File)

(CN) – Wholesale prices ticked up just 0.1% in May, signaling softening inflation pressures in the American economy.

The producer price index, which measures costs before goods reach consumers, stayed nearly flat compared to the 0.2% uptick the month before and the 0.6% spike seen in March.

The jump in wholesale prices over the past year dropped from 2.2% in March and April to 1.8% in May, the Labor Department reported Tuesday.

The 12-month increase seen last month is just below the Federal Reserve’s 2% annual inflation target.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell has said the central bank can be patient with raising interest rates this year while inflation pressures remain tame, but some have called for a cut to interest rates to boost economic growth – including President Donald Trump.

“The United States has VERY LOW INFLATION, a beautiful thing!” Trump tweeted Tuesday morning, adding that the Fed’s interest rate is “way too high.”

Excluding the always volatile food and energy categories, core wholesale prices rose 0.4% in May and are up 2.3% from a year earlier.

The 0.1% increase in the producer price index last month is the result of a 0.3% jump in the wholesale price of services and a 0.2% drop in goods prices.

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