WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. producer prices shot up by an unexpectedly large 1.9 percent last month, the biggest gain in more than 15 years, as energy costs surged in the wake of hurricanes that devastated the U.S. Gulf Coast, a government report showed on Tuesday.
However, outside of volatile food and energy costs, (oh, by all means remove the volatility)
prices received by farms, factories and refineries rose a relatively subdued 0.3 percent, the Labor Department said.
Stock prices fell on the producer price report, which kept alive concerns over inflation and profit pressures, and the likelihood of further interest-rate hikes from the Federal Reserve.
And who, pray tell, found this information to be unexpected? Why, it's our old friends ...
Wall Street economists had expected producer prices to rise just 1.1 percent, with prices outside of food and energy up a tame 0.2 percent.
Analysts were divided on the degree to which the higher costs producers face from energy prices would feed through to the prices consumers pay.
Energy prices at the producer level soared 7.1 percent in September, the biggest jump since October 1990, while food prices gained 1.4 percent, the largest rise in nearly a year.
"The real question is whether companies will squeeze their (profit) margins as costs increase or if they are going to increase prices," said Michael Metz, chief investment strategist at Oppenheimer Holdings Inc. in New York. "I think they will increase prices."
Batten down the hatches, people, we're in for rough waters.