Wednesday, March 21, 2012

21/3/2012: Wholesale Price Indices for February 2012

A quick note on wholesale prices for January-February 2012.

Per CSO:

  • Monthly factory gate prices declined by 0.6% in February 2012 mom against a decrease of 0.2% recorded for February 2011. Annual prices rose 2.3% in February 2012, compared with an increase of 2.7% in the year to January 2012.
  • Price index for export sales decreased by 0.9% mom while the index for domestic (CSO calls it 'home') sales rose 0.3%. 
  • Yoy there was an increase of 1.9% in the price index for export sales (CSO notes, correctly, that this index can be influenced by currency fluctuations) and an increase of 3.7% in respect of the price index for home sales.
  • So domestic factory gate inflation is outstripping exports sales. The summary below explains.
Mom the most significant changes were increases in

  • Other food products including bread and confectionary (+2.1%), 
  • Electrical equipment (+1.5%) and
  • Other non-metallic mineral products (+0.4%), 
Most significant mom prices decreases were recorded in

  • Computer, electronic and optical products (-2.0%), 
  • Basic pharmaceutical products and pharmaceutical preparations (-1.4%) and 
  • Chemicals and chemical products (-1.1%). 

Yoy, the most significant contributions to prices changes were in

  • Meat and meat products (+7.8%), 
  • Other food products including bread and confectionary (+4.9%) and
  • Computer, electronic and optical products (+3.3%),
  • Electrical equipment (-3.2%), 
  • Furniture (-2.3%) and 
  • Basic pharmaceutical products and pharmaceutical preparations (-1.7%). 

Yoy, Building and Construction All materials prices increased by 1.7% in the year since February 2011. The most notable yearly changes were increases in Insulating materials (+10.1%), Other timber excluding windows and doors (+9.7%) and Concrete blocks and bricks (+7.8%) while there were decreases in Sand and gravel (-9.4%), PVC pipes and fittings (-7.8%) and Other steel products excluding structural steel and
reinforcing metal (-2.3%). Building and Construction All material prices increased by 0.1% in the month. This suggests that there is no significant signs of uptick in building & construction sector, but there is some ongoing inflation feed-through in heavily subsidized insulation and refitting activity.

Year on year, the price of Capital Goods increased by 0.7%, while the monthly price index increased by 0.1%. Again, spare capacity in the sector relating to investment continues to run against the lack of demand.

The core driver of all price hikes, is most likely energy cost, feeding through a lag. Price of Energy products rose 3.9% in the year since February 2011, and Petroleum fuels increased by 10.3%. In February 2012, the monthly price indices for both energy-related categories decreased by 0.1%.

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