WASHINGTON — Wholesale prices on U.S.-made women's and girls' apparel rose a seasonally adjusted 0.5 percent in August and were 0.4 percent ahead of a year earlier, according to the Labor Department's Producer Price Index.
The monthly report, released Tuesday, also offered evidence a slowing economy has helped keep inflation in check. Prices on all domestically made goods inched up 0.1 percent last month, following an identical rise in July and a jump of 0.5 percent in June.
After stripping away volatile food and energy goods, the so-called "core" prices slid 0.4 percent for the month, after a 0.3 percent decline in July and a 0.2 percent rise in June.
Many economists expect the Federal Reserve Board's Open Market Committee to keep the benchmark federal funds interest rate at 5.25 percent when it meets today. The committee ended a two-year string of 17 consecutive interest rate hikes last month and said it would wait to see where the economic indicators pointed before making further changes.
"Signs of a slowing economy, coupled with anchored inflation expectations, led the Fed to suspend its two-year credit tightening campaign in August," Kenneth Beauchemin, Global Insight U.S. economist, said in a report. "Back-to-back monthly declines in the core PPI, coupled with two consecutive monthly consumer core inflation readings of 0.2 percent, vindicates that decision. The likelihood of further rate hikes this year is falling."
There were also new signs of the cooling housing market, as housing starts dropped 6 percent in August to an annual rate of 1.7 million, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday.
The drop in core inflation and a slowdown in housing starts make it more likely the Fed's next move will be to reduce interest rates, said John Lonski, team managing director of Moody's Investors Service economic group, in a report.
"Fears of core price inflation have now been supplanted by worry over home price deflation," said Lonski.
Within the women's and girl's category in August, woven shirts saw prices increase 2.1 percent against a year earlier, as jeans and slacks prices were 0.9 percent more and underwear was up 0.7 percent. Nightwear saw a 4.2 percent decrease. In the textiles area, prices on synthetic fibers rose 1.7 percent in August, as yarns were up 2.7 percent and greige fabric prices increased 5 percent.
Breaking News: @louisvuitton's men's artistic director @mrkimjones is leaving the French fashion house after nearly 7 years. Jones joined Louis Vuitton in 2011, following a three year tenure as creative director of British luxury goods brand Alfred Dunhill. Jones is to exit Louis Vuitton after showing his fall 2018 collection for the brand in Paris on Thursday. Read the full exclusive story on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
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Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews