The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has released the Producer Price Indexes (PPI) for October. Producer prices continued the recent pattern of following energy prices. The PPI for finished goods declined by 0.2% in October from September while the index for energy goods declined by 0.5%. The core index which excludes food and energy declined by 0.2%.
Turning to the inputs for home building, prices for gypsum declined slightly in October but are 13.8% higher than at the start of the year. Prices for softwood lumber have been volatile in recent months, declining in October but averaging roughly 10% above last year’s levels. Prices for OSB continued their climb and now stand 52.1% above levels at the beginning of the year. Reports of another round of increases in gypsum prices in 2013 as well as continued strength in OSB prices could pose challenges for builders in 2013.