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**MNI: 5 Things We Learned From The December PPI Data>

By Kevin Kastner, Holly Stokes and Sara Haire
     WASHINGTON (MNI) - The following are the key points from the 
Producer Price Index data for December released by the Labor Department 
Thursday: 
     - The December PPI data, at -0.1% for both overall and ex-food and 
energy, were much weaker than expected, breaking the string of 
underestimates seen in October and November and indicating that 
inflation backed off in December. 
     - The personal consumption price measure in the data, which some 
analysts use a preview measure for CPI and the PCE price index, fell 
0.2% and was down 0.2% ex. food and energy and was flat also excluding 
trade services, suggesting concerns about a strong CPI reading may be 
misplaced.
     - PPI excluding food, energy, and trade services were up 0.1% after 
a 0.4% gain in the previous month, while the volatile trade services 
component was down 0.6% after a 0.3% November decline.
     - Year/year prices show deceleration from November. Overall PPI now 
+2.6% y/y vs +3.1% in November, ex food and energy +2.3% y/y vs +2.4% in 
November, ex food, energy and trade services +2.3% y/y vs +2.4% in 
November. 
     - Energy prices were flat after their November surge, while foods 
prices fell 0.7%. Trade services prices were held down by retail 
margins on auto fuels and apparel. Outside of food and energy, prices 
of goods were modestly higher.
     ** MNI Washington Bureau: 202-371-2121 ** 
[TOPICS: MAUDS$,M$U$$$,MAUDR$] 

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