Inflation Frustration

The Consumer Price Index continued to deliver distressing news. March’s CPI was up 8.5 percent year-over-year. The CPI’s component for electric service was up more, 11.1 percent. And the component for natural gas service was up even more, 21.6 percent.

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The cause — whether for electric or gas service — is once again the natural gas commodity markets. You could see that clearly in last week’s Producer Price Index.

The PPI’s component for natural gas purchased by power producers was up 28.8 percent year-over-year. No matter how much utilities and independent power producers hedge their gas purchasing, that kind of price increase eventually has an impact.

There’s inflation in many other commodities and consumer goods and services, extreme in some cases. The PPI’s component for home heating oil and distillates was up 105.9 percent. For no. 2 diesel fuel, it was up 63.8 percent.