Producer prices slip in November, hinting at lack of inflation

A worker checks pieces of finished product at the Sko-Die manufacturing facility in Morton Grove, Illinois.
Tim Boyle | Bloomberg | Getty Images

U.S. producer prices fell for a third straight month in November, pointing to a lack of inflation that could give the Federal Reserve pause as it weighs the future of its monthly bond purchases.

The Labor Department said on Friday its seasonally adjusted producer price index slipped 0.1 percent as gasoline prices maintained their downward trend.

Prices received by the nation's farms, factories and refineries had dipped 0.2 percent in October.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected wholesale prices would be flat in November.

In the 12 months through November, producer prices increased 0.7 percent after rising 0.3 percent in October.

Wholesale prices excluding volatile food and energy costs nudged up 0.1 percent after rising 0.2 percent the prior month. In the 12 months through November, the so-called core PPI rose 1.3 percent after increasing 1.4 percent in October.

Despite signs of economic growth strengthening, there is little to indicate that will be accompanied by a pick-up in inflation because of still-considerable labor market slack.

Persistently low inflation could complicate matters for the Fed, which is getting ready to start reducing the pace of its monetary stimulus.

Last month, wholesale gasoline prices fell 0.7 percent, accounting for nearly three-quarters of the decrease in the energy index.

Wholesale food prices were flat after rising 0.8 percent in October. Higher prices for pork were offset by a record fall in bakery goods and the biggest drop in the prices for young chickens in nearly three years.

Passenger car prices fell 0.8 percent, while light truck prices increased 0.6 percent.

--By Reuters