Producer Price Index (PPI)
The Producer Price Index (PPI) is a measure of the average price level for a fixed basket of capital and consumer goods paid by producers.
Why do Investors Care?
The PPI measures price changes in the manufacturing sector. Inflation at this producer level often gets passed through to the consumer price index (CPI). By tracking price pressures in the pipeline, investors can anticipate inflationary consequences in coming months. Investors need to monitor inflation closely. Just knowing what inflation is and how it influences the markets can put an individual investor head and shoulders above the crowd.
Inflation is a general increase in the prices of goods and services. The relationship between INFLATION and INTEREST RATES is the key to understanding how data like the PPI influence the markets ( and your investments.)
If someone borrows $100 dollars from you today and promises to repay it in one year with interest, how much interest should you charge? The answer depends largely on inflation, because you know that the $100 won’t be able to buy the same amount of goods and services a year from now, as it does today. If you were in Brazil where prices can double every couple of months, you might want to charge 400% interest for a total payoff of $500 at the end of the year. In the United States, the CPI tells us that prices are rising about 2% a year, so you only have to charge 2% interest to recoup your purchasing power at the end of the year. You might want to add in a few more percentage points for default risk and the opportunity cost, but the key variable in what interest rate you charge is the rate of inflation.
That basically explains how interest rates are set on everything from your mortgage and auto loans to Treasury bonds and T-bills. As the rate of inflation changes and as expectations on inflation change, the markets adjust interest rates accordingly. The effect ripples across stocks, bonds, commodities, and your portfolio, often in a dramatic fashion.
By tracking the trends in inflation, whether high or low, rising or falling, investors can anticipate how different types of investments will perform.