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Posts tagged with: "CUUR0000SEFR02"

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It’s the great pumpkin FRED graph, Charlie Brown

Producer price index data for pumpkins and other treats

Happy Halloween from the FRED Team!

Economic data can be scary and full of tricks…but it also includes some treats, like this fun FRED series on the price of pumpkins. And we couldn’t help ourselves: We used FRED’s frighteningly awesome graphing tools to “seasonally adjust” this graph in all the right colors.

This data series, by the way, is a recent addition to FRED: goods-level producer price index (PPI) data used in the consumer price index (CPI). The graph obviously looks deserted in places. That is, data points are missing pretty much throughout the year, except in September and October. But if you think about it, that’s when pumpkins are MUCH more popular on the market, right? One simple observation is that the price of pumpkins has been remarkably stable for the past few years. Nothing scary here.

The second spooky graph, below, is all about inflation (price changes) for treats. Specifically, sugary sweets. The two CPI series in green and orange show how costs have increased for consumers; the PPI series in brown shows that costs have increased for producers, too; and the IP series in yellow shows how much production of sweets has changed. This (candy) bar graph reveals some sustained inflation for these goods, recently well above the 2% target the Fed sets for overall inflation. Depending on your sweet tooth, this might be a scary story after all.

How these graphs were created: For the first graph, simply search for “pumpkins,” select the series, and click “Add to Graph.” From the “Edit Graph” panel, use the “Format” tab to select graph type “Bar” and play with the color choices. For the second graph, search for and select one of the series; from the “Edit Graph” panel, use the “Add Line” tab to add the second series by searching for it in the search box. Repeat the search and selection process for the other two series. Now, select units “Percent change from year ago” and apply to all. And, once again, play with the colors in the “Format” tab to make it as spooky as possible.

Suggested by Yvetta Fortova, Keith Taylor, and Christian Zimmermann.

View on FRED, series used in this post: CUSR0000SEFR, CUUR0000SEFR02, IPG3113S, PCU31133113, WPU01130236

Spooked by prices this Halloween?

FRED shines a light on consumer and producer prices of candy and costumes

If you’ve been in any grocery stores, pharmacies, toy stores, or supermarkets recently, you’ve seen Halloween in all its glory. According to the National Retail Federation, Americans are expected to spend $9 billion on Halloween fun. How does the spike in consumption of candy and costumes affect prices for consumers and producers? As it turns out, the consumer price index appears to be more volatile than the producer price index.

The graph shows the consumer price index (CPI) in purple and the producer price indexes (PPI) in orange and black for candy and costumes. (Sadly, CPI for costumes isn’t available.) The PPIs don’t vary much, but the CPI does. After all, the prices of sugar, cloth, and other inputs exhibit less holiday-related seasonal variation than the prices producers can charge around those holidays. The PPI for costumes and vestments varies the least, which isn’t surprising: Fewer seasonal factors such as weather or harvest schedules impact the prices of inputs for costume production. The PPI for candy shows slightly more variation, yet displays less of a seasonal pattern than the CPI for candy, which tends to spike each March and September.

Candy prices are expected to rise in the spring and fall, as demand rises to fill Easter baskets and trick-or-treat bags. But savvy shoppers who consult FRED can see that the worst of the Halloween price hikes seem to end by October. It’s the early candy shoppers who often take the hit every September when prices are at their scariest.

How this graph was created: Search for “CPI Candy” and select the monthly, not seasonally adjusted series. From the “Edit Graph” panel, change the units to “Index,” selecting the date 2011-12-01 (to align with the next series). Then click “Add Line” and search for “PPI Chocolate” and select the relevant series. Click “Add Line” again and search for “PPI Vestments and Costumes” and select the relevant series. Change the start date to 2011-12-01.

Suggested by Maria Hyrc and Christian Zimmermann.

View on FRED, series used in this post: CUUR0000SEFR02, PCU3113531135, WPU0381044115

Halloween candy

Halloween is upon us─the only time children are encouraged to receive candy from total strangers. And it feels like this ritual is becoming more important every year, which might put pressure on the market for candy. FRED does not have data about candy sales, but it does have a price index for it. If we compare that index with the general consumer price index, maybe we can unearth something about our hypothesis.

It turns out this is a ghostly idea: There’s literally nothing to see. Candy price data start in December 1997; so, after setting both series to 100 at that date, the current numbers are virtually indistinguishable. This may be due to uncanny luck, as candy prices were at times as much as 10% below general prices, including at the end of the last economic boom. So maybe this shadowy idea about candy price pressure applies only to the time since the Great Recession. Or perhaps our hypothesis simply has no bearing on the price of candy because candy supply can easily accommodate fluctuations in demand. All in all, nothing scary to report.

How this graph was created: Search for “candy” and the candy price index should be your first choice. Then add the CPI  series. Modify the latter’s units to show 100 in 1997-12-01.

Suggested by Christian Zimmermann

View on FRED, series used in this post: CPIAUCSL, CUUR0000SEFR02


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