Thursday, February 25, 2010

Economics 25/02/2010: Wholesale prices - deflation is still a problem

Wholesale and Producer prices are out today for Ireland, January 2010.

Per CSO:
Monthly factory gate prices are up 1.5% in January as compared to 0.4% rise a year ago. Annual percentage change now stands at -2.8% in January 2010, compared with an annual decrease of 3.8% in December 2009.
Slide 1

Exports prices rose strong 2.0%, while the index for home sales was down 0.2%. In the year there was an increase in the exports price index of 3.3%, primarily due to positive currency movements and a decrease of 0.9% for domestic sales prices.

Producer price deflation is moderating
but this moderation is driven primarily by external factors.

January 2010 most significant changes were:
  • Basic chemicals (+4.9%),
  • Pharmaceuticals and other chemical products (+1.7%)
  • Other food products including bread and confectionery (+1.4%),
  • Beverages (-0.3%)
  • Building and Construction All material prices increased by 0.9% in the month
On an annual basis:
  • Basic chemicals (-9.6%),
  • Office machinery and computers (-4.1%),
  • Radio, television and communication equipment (-3.7%),
  • Other food products including bread and confectionery (+1.8%)
  • Tobacco products (+7.8%)
  • Building and Construction All material prices -1.4% in the year since January 2009.
Capital goods – a very important driver for recovery, posted a yoy price drop of 0.6%, and a mom rise of 0.4%. Thus, mom changes were too weak to signal any significant turnaround in business investment cycle.

Wholesale price of Energy products fell 3.9% in the year since January 2009, while Petroleum fuels increased by 24.1%. In January 2010, there was a monthly increase in Energy products of 0.8%, while Petroleum fuels increased by 2.7%.

Overall, therefore, while some moderation in deflation at wholesale level is evident, there is not enough momentum to suggest that we are out of the woods yet. Chart above clearly shows that the deflationary trend prevalent since May 2009 was broken in December 2009
and the positive trend has accelerated in January 2010. It will require 1-2 months of continued upward trend to signal sustained movement toward a recovery and the risk here is for a double-dip.

The same stands for Industrial producer prices (Manufacturing). But there is far less optimism in the numbers for Capital goods, which show more volatility and reversals than broader indices.
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