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      PPI Report: An Indicator of Inflation and Consumer Prices

      By Wasim Omar

      Published on

      March 27, 2023

      7:39 AM UTC

      PPI Report: An Indicator of Inflation and Consumer Prices

      Throughout history, even before the formal establishment of economic theory and frameworks, inflation had always been a main concern for ruling bodies and was judged to tie into the stability of society and the state itself. In modern times, one of the leading indicators for inflation that economists, policymakers, and market participants rely heavily upon is the report on the producer price index, or the PPI report.

      The measurement of inflation is a critically important function in the modern world, and its significance can be gauged by the methodological infrastructure that goes into its determination.

      There is a range of economic tools deployed by official economic agencies throughout countries to arrive at this measure, as a means of determining the economic trajectory and establishing appropriate policy, as a result.

      The focus area on this topic is on a specific area of an inflation measurement, which is the PPI report. There is much benefit to understanding the inner workings of the robust and reliable measuring tool and its importance in the modern context.

      What Is The PPI Report?

      The Producer’s Price Index, or the PPI, is a way that economists measure the state of inflation in a given economy, by focusing on the costs borne by domestic producers.

      Thus, the PPI report showcases inflation trends at the wholesale level, before being passed on to the consumers in the market.

      PPI is a useful metric because it points out how much of the inflationary burden is being absorbed by producers, and how much is being passed on to consumers. It, therefore, is great at highlighting inflationary pressures in the economy.

      When assessing inflation, PPI is typically an extremely reliable tool due to its comprehensive nature, usually covering almost 10,000 goods and services at each stage of the production process.

      Importance Of PPI Report

      The PPI report is extremely important, as far as economic indications go. Its ability to talk about rising costs on the production side of the economy is extremely reliable as an early warning signal for consumer-side inflation, in the short term.

      In addition to the insight this report delivers on inflation trends, it is also a great way to assess supply chain dynamics that are relevant to a range of industries. It could therefore act as a call to work towards adjustments based on existing demand.

      The importance of PPI can be gauged simply by the sheer breadth of the groups that rely upon it. Policymakers consult the report when devising monetary policy, whereas companies use it to gain insight into cost inputs, and adjust pricing strategies accordingly.

      Investors find the PPI metric extremely valuable, as it helps them predict market trajectory based on inflation levels. Based on this information predicting inflation, they readjust their portfolios and take on inflation-hedging strategies.

      How To Use It

      Reports conveying PPI-related information are usually released on a monthly basis, which hints at its sheer usefulness. Listed below are some of the domains where the report itself can be used, and help make informed decisions:

      • Monitor Input Costs

        The PPI figures reported are extremely useful to businesses looking to keep track of their input costs. This would in turn guide them as to how much leeway they have with profit margins, and how to optimally set a pricing strategy.

        Input costs would include costs of raw material, labor, and energy, as well as all others that raise the price of goods and services, such as tariffs. Businesses also use these reports to determine how much of the cost burden to pass on to consumers.

      • Sector-Specific Trend Analysis

        Often, reports publishing PPI statistics are used to identify which sectors of the economy are facing the most and least inflationary pressure. This is useful for analysts and investors to identify promising opportunities, despite inflation.

        Policymakers also turn to the PPI to identify which sectors are prone to cost burdens and thus can implement changes through government support, and development initiatives.

      • Inflation Forecasting

        PPI publications are useful to economists due to their ability to help predict consumer-side inflation.

        When producers face growing cost pressure, there is a limit to how much of the inflation can be absorbed, so some transfer to consumers would be an inevitable reality. As such PPI is used as an early warning signal.


      After going over exactly what PPI measures, we now take a closer look at the methodology that makes its calculation possible.

      When deriving the PPI figure for an economy, relevant to a particular time period, there are a number of core elements that play a significant role in the method itself. Some of these elements are as follows:

      • Inclusion Criteria

        The inclusion criteria set out the items to be included and excluded in the PPI calculation. For instance, would PPI account for only domestic goods or imported ones too?

        Within the methodology, the inclusion criteria are fundamental to the calculation, as it determines how relevant and useful the PPI figure in the report actually is. It also helps define exactly what is PPI in economics.

      • Process

        The PPI calculating method is also seriously impacted by the process itself. Different economic bodies employ varying methodologies, which range from surveys to direct observations, and other trend analysis tools.

        The process would determine the sample size of cost information, along with the weightage used in determining a reliable average figure.

      • Quality Control

        It is important to ensure robust quality control mechanisms to ensure the credibility of the PPI figures calculated. This could ensure validation techniques such as outlier detection and PPI industry data collection review.

        This aspect is critical to the method, as the implications of the report are highly significant for economists, policymakers, and the financial markets.

      Difference Between Producer Price Index And Consumer Price Index

      When looking into the Producer Price Index report, the flip side of the coin is the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The distinction and relationship between both inflation indicators have widely been discussed by economists and analysts alike.

      The fundamental difference between the PPI and CPI is their central focus, with the former looking into inflation from the producer’s perspective whereas the latter does so from the consumer’s perspective.

      Although both PPI and CPI investigate inflation, they have different areas of focus, and thus distinct methods of calculation. PPI looks into raw material, labor, and energy costs, whereas CPI tracks the prices of a basket of goods and services.

      While both PPI and CPI serve different functions they both are critical at shedding a light on the macroeconomic state, with respect to inflation. The findings of each of the two tools are used to inform the decisions of the market as well as policymakers.

      How Is PPI Calculated?

      The Producer Price Index is calculated in five basic steps, which are as follows:

      • Selecting An Appropriate Sample

        In the first phase of the calculation, economists would typically select a range of goods and services that are domestically produced, spanning from the raw material to the finished goods phase.

        The goods and services will be strategically selected to give a reliable overview of the macroeconomic state, and a clear picture of PPI industry data.

      • Price Collection

        Prices will be collected on the basis of the sample size determined initially. These will be prices of raw materials, wages, electricity bills, overheads, and so on. These are collected from a wide range of sources, on a monthly basis.

      • Establishing Weights

        Now that costs have been collected from various phases of the production phase, weights will be assigned to each, on the basis of their relative value and importance to the wider economy.

        This is done, so as to portray an inflation figure that is truly representative of the macroeconomy.

      • Aggregate Weighted Prices

        Following the weighting is the aggregation step whereby, weighted prices are brought together to form a single index, the movement of which can be used to track changes in prices over a specified time horizon.

      • Choosing A Base Year

        In order to be able to assess the inflation index, a base year would need to be selected, through which a relative assessment can be carried out. This would help spell out changes in prices, relative to a base year.

      How Are PPI Data Collected?

      As highlighted above, data is collected on a regular (usually monthly) basis to produce timely PPI reports which can help track inflation levels. The most well-known ways through which this data is collected, are as follows:

      • Producer Surveys

        Surveys are usually sent out to producers operating in a range of economic sectors to collect information on the cost of the products or services they deliver. These typically cover a large range of active industries in the economy.

      • Wholesaler & Retailer Surveys

        Wholesaler and retailer surveys are useful for PPI calculations as they provide good prices before they make it to consumers. In effect, they indicate the inflated value addition taking place in the middle of supply chains.

      • Administrative Data Sources

        State agencies and policymakers typically use administrative data sources as primary sources to work out PPI figures. This taps into taxation records and helps deliver a holistic picture of inflationary shifts on the supply side.


      In this article, we have delved into some critical domains, such as answering the questions, ‘what is PPI in economics, and ‘what does PPI measure’?

      The PPI report is a highly valuable source of knowledge that economists, policymakers and financial market participants each turn to, in order to make informed decisions about the future. It acts as an early warning signal to consumer-side inflation.

      The applications of PPI publications are wide-ranging, making the measure highly consequential. For this reason, the calculation and data collection methods are carefully established with robust quality care controls, for reliable reports.

      Tracking inflation is among the most critical of economic endeavors, and the PPI stands as its most worthy signal. The reports based on this information, therefore, are widely monitored by stakeholders on a regular basis.


      What Does PPI Mean In Finance?

      In finance, PPI is a useful measure that acts as a predictor for inflation on the consumption side. It can influence the behavior and direction of wider financial markets and therefore guide investment decisions.

      How Do Investors And Traders Use The PPI Report In Their Analysis?

      Investors and traders use the PPI report in their analysis to predict market shifts, and which stocks will dip and take off with shifting macroeconomic trends such as inflation. This is possible as certain stocks outperform others amid inflationary pressures.

      How Is The PPI Report Different From The CPI Report?

      Although both the PPI and CPI reports give insight into inflation, the PPI data sheds light on inflation from the producer’s perspective, whereas the CPI report covers inflation from the consumer’s point of view.

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