By  on September 16, 2008

WASHINGTON — Wholesale prices for domestically manufactured men’s and boys’ apparel fell 0.3 percent compared to July and advanced 0.9 percent compared to last year, the Labor Department said Friday in its Producer Price Index.

Prices for all apparel advanced 0.4 percent from July and 1.2 percent from August of last year.

Inflationary worries eased slightly as prices for all U.S.-produced goods declined a seasonally adjusted 0.9 percent. The decrease followed increases of 1.2 percent in July and 1.8 percent in June. The core PPI, which excludes food and energy prices, was up 0.2 percent in August after advancing 0.7 percent in July.

The overall drop in prices for domestically manufactured goods was driven by falling energy prices, economists said.

“The mid-July break in the oil and natural gas price wave, delivered the first monthly decline in the producer price index since April,” said Kenneth Beauchemin, U.S. economist, Global Insight.

The PPI is not an indicator of broader apparel trends given that the vast majority of clothing sold in the U.S. is imported, but price fluctuations are still notable. The Consumer Price Index, which indicates increases in retail prices, will be released on Tuesday.

Wholesale prices for all men’s and boys’ apparel categories were flat compared to July, except for tailored sport coats and vest, which declined 0.3 percent. Compared to a year ago, work shirts, work clothing and knit shirt prices increased 0.3, 0.5 and 0.3 percent respectively. Woven shirt prices advanced 2.1 percent, suits increased 1.5 percent and tailored sport coasts and vests were up 2.8 percent from last year.

August prices for apparel fabrics, also known as textile mill products, increased 1.2 percent from July and 4.9 percent year-to-year. Prices in the textile product mill category, comprised mainly of industrial and home furnishings fabrics, advanced 0.9 percent from July and 3 percent from last year.

Inflationary pressures continued to impact product deeper in the production pipeline as well. Synthetic fiber prices were up 1.1 percent from July and 3.4 percent year-to-year. Yarn prices increased 0.5 percent compared to July and 6.4 percent from last year. Greige fabric prices advanced 1.7 percent from July and 3.5 percent from last year. Costs for finished fabrics increased 1.3 percent compared with July and 5 percent compared with August of last year.

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