US initial jobless claims disappointed in the week ended April the 9th. Initial claims rose by 27 000 to a total level of 412 000, while the consensus was looking for a marginal decline. The less volatile four-week moving average rose from 390 250 to 395 750. The US labour department added that the upward surprise was due to
greater-than-normal volatility at the end of the quarter, while also the late timing of Easter might have had an impact. Continuing claims, which are reported with an extra week lag, surprised on the downside of expectations. In the week ended April the 2nd, continuing claims fell by 58 000 from an upwardly revised 3 738
000 to 3 680 000. As we believe that claims are very gradually trending downward, we hope to see the initial claims falling back below 400 000 in the coming months.
In March, US PPI inflation surprised on the downside of expectations. Producer prices rose by 0.7% M/M, while an increase by 1.0% M/M was expected. On a yearly basis, PPI accelerated to 5.8% Y/Y from 5.6% Y/Y in February. As expected, upward price pressures were led by energy (2.6% M/M), while food prices dropped by 0.2% M/M in March. Consumer goods prices increased by 0.8% M/M led by a sharp increase in gasoline prices (5.7% M/M) and higher prices for passenger cars (0.9% M/M). Prices of capital equipment rose by 0.3% M/M due to an increase in prices for light motor trucks (0.7% M/M). Core PPI, which excludes food & energy prices, rose by 0.3% M/M to an annual level of 1.9% M/M. The PPI data confirm that upward price pressures are mainly based in higher energy prices, while the upward surprise in the core component was due to higher prices for cars. Lower food prices limited the increase in PPI data.