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US Deflation Surges To Level Last Seen In October 2008

This is what the ISM says of its "Prices" survey question:

The ISM Prices Index registered 35 percent in January, which is a decrease of 3.5 percentage points compared to the December reading of 38.5 percent. In January, 11 percent of respondents reported paying higher prices, 41 percent reported paying lower prices, and 48 percent of supply executives reported paying the same prices as in December. This is the third consecutive month that raw materials prices have registered a decrease, with the Prices Index decreasing a total of 18.5 percentage points over these three months. A Prices Index above 52.1 percent, over time, is generally consistent with an increase in the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Producer Price Index for Intermediate Materials.

 

Of the 18 manufacturing industries, the only industry reporting increased prices in January is Printing & Related Support Activities. The 15 industries reporting paying lower prices during the month of January — listed in order — are: Textile Mills; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; Plastics & Rubber Products; Petroleum & Coal Products; Paper Products; Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Fabricated Metal Products; Chemical Products; Computer & Electronic Products; Furniture & Related Products; Machinery; Transportation Equipment; Primary Metals; and Miscellaneous Manufacturing.

And here is how respondents who answered "Higher" or "Lower" prices looks like in context. In case it is not self-evident, the last time 41% of the ISM respondents, and rising, saw "lower" prices was in October 2008. We can't quite put our finger on what had just happened the month prior.