The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released the Producer Price Indexes (PPI) for April today. Overall, the PPI for finished goods declined 0.2 percent from March on a seasonally adjusted basis, as a 1.4 percent decline in energy prices outpaced 0.2 percent gains in both food goods and the core index (i.e., finished goods less food and energy).
In a surprise development, gypsum prices declined 1.9 percent from March to April, after strong gains through the beginning of the year that had brought prices to 13.8 percent above levels at the end of last year. Today’s decline brings the year to date gain in gypsum prices back down to 11.6 percent.
PPIs for other home building inputs showed softwood lumber prices rose 1.4 percent in April while concrete prices declined 0.2 percent. The aggregate index for residential construction rose 0.2 percent for the month and the pace of year over year increases slowed to 2.9 percent from recent highs between 6 and 7 percent in mid-2011.