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Men’s, Boys’ Prices Rise in August

Wholesale prices for domestically manufactured men’s and boys’ apparel increased 0.4 percent from August and 1.4 percent year-to-year.

WASHINGTON — Wholesale prices for domestically manufactured men’s and boys’ apparel increased 0.4 percent from August and 1.4 percent year-to-year, the Labor Department said in its Producer Price Index on Wednesday.

Prices for all apparel dropped 0.2 percent from the prior month, and increased 0.9 percent compared to September a year ago. Wholesale prices for domestically manufactured women’s and girls’ apparel declined 0.7 percent in September from the previous month and decreased 0.1 percent compared with last year.

Prices for all U.S.-produced goods moderated in September as well, falling a seasonally adjusted 0.4 percent in September. Prices dropped 0.9 percent in August and increased 1.2 percent in July. The core PPI, excluding more volatile food and energy prices, increased 0.4 percent in September.

The overall index was driven down in part by lower energy costs. Prices in that sector fell 2.9 percent.

“The weakening economy is dampening demand for all fuels. This is also helping to relax cost pressures and bringing producer prices down,” said Patrick Newport, U.S. economist, Global Insight.

The vast majority of apparel sold in the U.S. is not produced domestically, but price fluctuations in the domestic prices are still notable. The Consumer Price Index, which tracks retail price changes, will be released Thursday.

Producer prices for men’s and boys’ work clothing, knit shirts and woven shirts were flat in September but increased 0.6 percent, 0.3 percent and 2.1 percent respectively from the previous year. Work shirt prices increased 3.6 percent from August and 3.9 percent year-to-year. Wholesale suit prices climbed 0.5 percent in September and 2 percent from the prior year. Tailored sport coats and vests also increased, 1.1 percent from August and 3.9 percent compared with September 2007.

September prices for apparel fabric, also called textile mill products, increased 1.1 percent from August and spiked 5.9 percent compared to the same period last year. Textile product mill prices, primarily home furnishings and industrial fabric, increased 0.7 percent from August and climbed 3.5 percent from the prior year.

Deeper in the manufacturing pipeline, prices were also up across the board. Synthetic fiber prices climbed 3.7 percent from August and 7.4 percent from a year ago. Yarn costs were up 1.4 percent in compared to the previous month and 8.6 percent year-to-year. Finished fabric prices increased 1 percent for the month and 6.1 percent from the prior year. Gray fabrics were flat in September, but increased 2.9 percent from the same period a year ago.