Inflation And Trade Data Are Generally Encouraging

By John S. McClenahen Minus food and fuel, the Labor Department's Producer Price Index (PPI) for finished goods, a closely watched indicator of inflation, was unchanged in September. Even with the sometimes volatile changes in food and fuel prices included, the PPI was up just 0.3% from August, a bit less than the July to August increase of 0.4%. Meanwhile, the U.S. Commerce Department has reported that the U.S. international trade deficit for goods and services fell in August for the fifth consecutive month. The deficit in August was $39.2 billion, with imports totaling $122.9 billion and exports reaching $83.7 billion. However, the U.S. trade deficit with China for goods rose to $11.699 billion in August, bringing the deficit for the first seven months of this year to $77.011 billion.

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