By  on November 15, 2007

WASHINGTON — Wholesale prices on U.S.-made women's and girls' apparel fell a seasonally adjusted 0.1 percent from September to October.

However, compared with a year ago, prices increased 0.8 percent as robes and dressing gowns jumped 6 percent, knit shirts and blouses rose 2.4 percent and bras were up 1.5 percent, according to the Labor Department Producer Price Index released Wednesday.

Among the goods losing pricing ground from a year ago were dresses, down 1.5 percent, and suits and pantsuits, off 0.1 percent.

Since more than 90 percent of the apparel sold in the U.S. is made abroad, prices on domestically made goods are not indicative of overall market trends. The Consumer Price Index, to be released today, will offer a snapshot of prices as seen by average shoppers.

On the textile front, October wholesale prices on yarns rose 2.2 percent from a year earlier, as greige fabrics increased 1.1 percent, finished fabrics inched up 0.7 percent and synthetic fibers advanced 0.2 percent.

October wholesale prices on all U.S.-made goods gained a seasonally adjusted 0.1 percent compared with a 1.1 percent rise in September and a 1.4 percent drop in August. Excluding the food and energy sectors, prices were flat in October.

Energy prices fell 0.8 percent for the month, helping to keep the overall or top-line rate of inflation from rising more sharply.

"The top-line thunder will return next month, however, with resurgent energy prices," Global Insight U.S. economist Kenneth Beauchemin wrote in an analysis.

The Federal Reserve Board, led by chairman Ben Bernanke, has judged the housing meltdown and credit woes on Wall Street more immediate dangers to the economy than inflation and lowered the benchmark federal funds interest rate by 75 basis points since September to 4.5 percent. One hundred basis points is equivalent to 1 percent.

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