Producer price inflation, UK: June 2020

Changes in the prices of goods bought and sold by UK manufacturers including price indices of materials and fuels purchased (input prices) and factory gate prices (output prices).

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This is an accredited national statistic.

Contact:
Email Emelia D'Silva-Parker

Release date:
15 July 2020

Next release:
19 August 2020

1. Main points

  • The headline rate of output inflation for goods leaving the factory gate was negative 0.8% on the year to June 2020, up from a negative 1.2% in May 2020.

  • The price for materials and fuels used in the manufacturing process showed negative growth of 6.4% on the year to June 2020, up from negative growth of 9.4% in May 2020.

  • Petroleum products made the largest upward contribution to the change in the annual rate of output inflation.

  • Crude oil provided the largest upward contribution to the change in the annual rate of input inflation.

  • Prices for both petroleum products and crude oil have increased on the month as lockdown and travel restrictions have eased and global demand has picked up; the monthly rate for petroleum products is the highest since May 2018 whilst crude oil has seen the largest monthly increase since PPI records began; the annual growth rates have picked up partly because of a base effect as crude oil prices rose sharply between May and June 2020 but fell sharply the same time last year.

  • The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has released a public statement on the coronavirus (COVID-19) and production of statistics; Section 8: Quality and methodology describes the situation in relation to the Producer Price Inflation (PPI).

  • A new bulletin will be introduced in October 2020, which collates information from the Services Producer Price Index (SPPI) and Producer Price Index (PPI) – Producer Price Inflation including Services, UK.

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2. Things you need to know about this release

Coronavirus in June 2020

On 23 March 2020, the UK and devolved governments announced official guidance on restrictions on movement for the UK as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Data collection for the Producer Price Index (PPI) surveys, including the surveys measuring domestic, import and export prices for June 2020, was via paper questionnaires that were sent to businesses on 21 May 2020, asking to return prices that were applicable on or around 1 June 2020.

Although there has been a gradual reopening of workplaces and premises during May and June 2020 as a result of the lifting of the government restrictions, the response for June 2020 is lower in comparison with other months. The response for June 2020 was 71.3%, down from a pre-lockdown 87.4% in February 2020. We closely monitor response rates in each publication and use statistical methods to deal with non-response. For further information, please see Section 8: Quality and methodology.

We have worked closely with our business respondents and data suppliers, and we have used additional data sources to quality assure the estimates in this publication. These include qualitative information sourced from manufacturing industry respondents to the Business Impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) Survey (BICS) and anecdotal evidence from responders to both the BICS and/or PPI surveys.

Merging SPPI with PPI

To ensure producer prices are more accessible to users we will be introducing a new bulletin in October 2020, which collates information from the Services Producer Price Index (SPPI) and Producer Price Index (PPI) – Producer Price Inflation including Services, UK. The methodology, data collection and production of the Producer Price Index (PPI) and Services Producer Price Index (SPPI) will not be affected because of this change.

Methodology changes

We will be implementing important methodological improvements to the PPI and SPPI after summer 2020. These include moving from fixed-base weights to annual chain-linking, which will improve the accuracy of these statistics. At the same time, we will be introducing changes to the level of detail of the data we publish and changes to our producer price inflation headline figure from net to gross in line with international best practice. To support users with the transition to the new headline definition, Section 6: Gross and net producer price indices includes a comparison between the existing measures of output and input producer price inflation on a net and gross basis.

We will pre-announce the exact date when these changes will be implemented over the coming few months to give users as much notice as possible.

About the PPI

The factory gate price (output price) is the amount received by UK producers for the goods that they sell to the domestic market. It includes the margin that businesses make on goods, in addition to costs such as labour, raw materials and energy as well as interest on loans, site or building maintenance, and rent.

The input price measures the price of materials and fuels bought by UK manufacturers for processing. It includes materials and fuels that are both imported or sourced in the domestic market. It is not limited to materials used in the final product, but it includes what is required by businesses in their normal day-to-day running, such as fuels.

The use of core input inflation removes the more volatile indices of food, tobacco, beverages and petrol from our statistics.

Index numbers shown in the main text of this bulletin are on a net sector basis. The index for any industry relates only to transactions between that industry and other industries; sales and purchases within industries are excluded.

Indices relate to average prices for a month. The full effect of a price change occurring part way through any month will only be reflected in the following month’s index.

All index numbers exclude Value Added Tax (VAT). The Soft Drinks Industry Levy (SDIL), introduced in April 2018, is also excluded. Excise Duty (on cigarettes, manufactured tobacco, alcoholic liquor and petroleum products) is included, except where labelled otherwise.

Each PPI has two unique identifiers: a 10-digit index number, which relates to the Standard Industrial Classification 2007 (SIC 2007) code appropriate to the index, and a four-character alpha-numeric code (series ID), which can be used to find series when using the time series dataset for producer price inflation.

Figures for the latest two months are provisional, and the latest five months are subject to revisions taking account of late and revised respondent data. Revisions to seasonal adjustment factors are re-estimated every month for the seasonally adjusted series. A routine seasonal adjustment review is normally conducted in the autumn each year.

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3. Producer price inflation summary

Figure 1 shows input and output Producer Price Indices (PPIs) over the past 15 years. Input producer price inflation is driven mostly by commodity prices, which tend to be more volatile over time, compared with prices for finished goods (output producer price inflation). Input producer price inflation is also sensitive to exchange rate movements, as roughly two-thirds of inputs into the UK manufacturing sector are imported.

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4. Annual output inflation rate picked up, but continued to show negative growth

The annual rate of inflation for goods leaving the factory gate (output prices) fell by 0.8% in June 2020, up 0.4 percentage points from negative growth of 1.2% in May 2020 (Table 1). This is the third consecutive month that the rate has been negative, following 45 consecutive months of positive annual inflation, but the first time since January 2020 that the rate has picked up.

On the month, the rate of output inflation was 0.3% in June 2020, up from a negative 0.2% in May 2020. This is the first time the monthly rate has been positive since January 2020 and is the highest the rate has been since July 2019.

Figure 2 shows contributions by product group to the monthly and annual rate of output inflation, and Table 2 shows monthly and annual growth rates by product group.

Of the 10 product groups, four provided negative contributions to the output annual rate.

Petroleum provided the largest downward contribution of 1.60 percentage points to the annual rate (Figure 2) and had negative annual price growth of 20.5% on the year to June 2020 (Table 2). This is the fifth consecutive month that the annual rate for petroleum has been negative but the first time the rate has picked up since January 2020, which follows a record fall last month. The negative rate in June 2020 was driven by diesel and gas oil, which is down 16.8% on the year, but up from a negative 23.1% in May 2020.

Price movements for petroleum products in June 2020 broadly follow trends seen in crude oil over recent months and likely reflect both demand and supply side factors during the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. These include increases in crude oil prices in May 2020 as global production levels of crude oil have seen cuts, as well as increased demand for petroleum products, particularly diesel and gas oil, as lockdown measures are relaxed and economic activity begins to recover.

Chemicals and pharmaceuticals displayed the second-largest downward contribution, of 0.12 percentage points, to the annual rate, with negative annual growth of 1.6% in June 2020. The annual rate for this product group has remained negative for 12 consecutive months and is driven by chemicals and chemical products, which had negative growth of 1.9% in June 2020.

Of the six product groups that provided a positive contribution to the annual rate, tobacco and alcohol provided the largest, at 0.45 percentage points. The annual rate for tobacco and alcohol rose by 4.5% on the year to June 2020.

On the month, output inflation was 0.3%. Petroleum products displayed the largest upward contribution, at 0.22 percentage points, with prices rising by 4.2% on the month in June 2020. This is the first time the monthly rate for petroleum products has been positive since January 2020 and is the highest the rate has been since May 2018.

Figure 3 shows contributions to the change in the annual rate for factory gate prices (output prices).

There was a 0.4 percentage point increase in the annual rate for output prices, from negative 1.2% in May 2020 to negative 0.8% in June 2020. Of the 10 product groups, six showed upward contributions to the change in the rate, with petroleum products providing the largest, at 0.35 percentage points (Figure 3). The annual rate of petroleum products was negative 20.5% in June 2020, up from negative 25.3% in May 2020.

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5. Annual input inflation rate continued to show negative growth but picks up for the second consecutive month

The annual rate of inflation for materials and fuels purchased by manufacturers (input prices) fell by 6.4% in June 2020, up from negative 9.4% in May 2020 (Table 3). This is the fifth consecutive month that the rate has been negative but the second consecutive month that it has picked up.

The monthly rate for materials and fuels purchased was 2.4% in June 2020, up from 0.9% in May 2020. This is the highest the monthly rate has been since May 2018.

The annual rate of inflation for imported materials and fuels was negative 6.7% in June 2020 (Table 4), which is up 2.6 percentage points from May 2020 when it was negative 9.3%. The monthly rate was 2.5% in June 2020, up 1.4 percentage points from 1.1% in May 2020. Imported materials and fuels represent roughly two-thirds of overall materials and fuels (input prices) in terms of index weight.

The sterling effective exchange rate index (ERI) fell by 0.4% on the month in June 2020. On the year, the ERI showed negative growth of 0.1% in June 2020, which is up 1.7 percentage points from negative 1.8% in May 2020.

All else being equal, a fall in the value of sterling would be expected to increase the cost of imports.

Figure 4 shows contributions by product group to the monthly and annual rate of input inflation, and Table 5 shows monthly and annual growth rates by product group.

Of the nine product groups, five provided negative contributions to the input annual rate.

The largest downward contribution to the annual rate came from crude oil, which contributed 6.84 percentage points (Figure 4) and had negative annual price growth of 39.6% (Table 5). This is the fifth consecutive month that the rate has been negative but the second consecutive month that the rate has picked up.

PPI prices for crude oil typically reflect a range of factors, including geopolitical events around the world as well as local refineries’ market conditions. The fall in prices in the 12 months to June 2020 continued the trend seen in May 2020 and reflected several market conditions including oversupply and reduced global demands for crude oil during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. World crude oil prices in June 2020 have started to increase as some countries have eased lockdown and travel restrictions, and global demand has picked up.

The average price for world crude oil was US $39 per barrel in June 2020, which is up from US $30 per barrel in May 2020, according to World Bank.

Imported chemicals provided the second-largest downward contribution to the annual rate, at 0.62 percentage points, with negative price growth of 4.7%. The annual rate for this product group has remained negative for 12 consecutive months. This was driven by imported products used in the manufacture of petrochemicals, which fell by 8.4% on the year.

The largest upward contribution to the annual rate came from imported metals, with a contribution of 0.96 percentage points and price growth of 11.7%. The annual rate for this product group has remained positive for 48 consecutive months.

On the month, two out of the nine product groups provided upward contributions to the rate. Crude oil provided the largest upward contribution of 2.70 percentage points, with prices increasing by 31.0%. This is the second consecutive month that the rate has been positive, following four months of negative growth, and the highest the rate has been since PPI records began in January 1996.

Imported metals provided the second-largest upward contribution of 0.18 percentage points, with prices rising by 1.8% between May and June 2020. This is the first time the rate has been positive since February 2020.

Figure 5 shows contributions to the change in the annual rate of inflation for materials and fuels purchased by manufacturers (input prices).

The annual rate for input prices increased by 3.0 percentage points, from negative 9.4% in May 2020 to negative 6.4% in June 2020. Of the nine product groups, three displayed upward contributions to the change in the rate, with downward contributions from the other six product groups.

Inputs of crude oil provided the largest upward contribution to the change in the rate, at 3.83 percentage points. The annual rate of crude oil rose by 17.8 percentage points, from negative 57.4% in May 2020 to negative 39.6% in June 2020. This is partly a base effect, as crude oil prices rose sharply between May and June 2020 but fell sharply the same time last year.

Imported metals provided the second-largest upward contribution to the change in the rate, at 0.10 percentage points.

Imported food materials provided the largest downward contribution to the change in the rate, at 0.22 percentage points. The annual rate of imported food materials fell by 3.1 percentage points, from 3.0% in May 2020 to negative 0.1% in June 2020.

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6. Gross and net producer price indices

Producer Price Indices (PPIs) are measured on two different bases: gross and net of inter-sector sales. Gross sector PPIs include products sold by one business to another business classified to the same industry sector. Net sector PPIs exclude (net out) products sold by a business to another business classified to the same industry sector. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) currently headlines with net sector PPIs, which include duty. We will move our headline to a gross sector basis excluding duty after summer 2020, in line with international best practice.

Figure 6 shows net and gross output PPIs over the past 10 years. In June 2020, the net output PPI was 114.9 while the gross output excluding duty PPI was 112.8.

Gross and net sector output PPIs display similar trends over time, although the gross indices show higher volatility, particularly at times of high inflation, either positive or negative (Figure 7). For the net output PPI, the annual growth fell to negative 0.8% in June 2020, up from negative 1.2% in May 2020. For the gross output excluding duty PPI, the annual growth in June 2020 was negative 3.3%, up from negative 4.4% in May 2020.

Figure 8 shows the net and gross input PPIs over the past 10 years. The trends of the PPIs are similar, although the net input PPI appears more volatile than the gross input PPI. In June 2020, the net input PPI was 109.6 while the gross input PPI was 112.5.

Figure 9 also shows that the annual growth rates for the net input PPI are more volatile than for the gross input PPI. For the net input PPI, the annual growth was negative 6.4% in June 2020, up from negative 9.4% in May 2020. For the gross input PPI, the annual growth in June 2020 was negative 3.1%, up from negative 4.4% in May 2020.

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8. Quality and methodology

More quality and methodology information on strengths, limitations, appropriate uses, and how the data were created is available in the Producer Price Indices (PPIs) QMI.

If you would like more information about the reliability of the data, a PPI standard errors article was published on 18 May 2018. The tables present the calculated standard errors of the PPI between January and December 2017, for both month-on-month and 12-month growth.

Guidance on using indices in Indexation Clauses (PDF, 197KB) covers producer prices, services producer prices and consumer prices.

An up-to-date manual for the PPIs, including the import and export index, is available. PPIs methods and guidance (PDF, 1.14MB) provides an outline of the methods used to produce the PPIs as well as information about recent PPI developments.

Gross sector basis figures, which include intra-industry sales and purchases, are shown in the producer price inflation dataset Tables 4 and 6.

The detailed input indices of prices of materials and fuels purchased by industry (producer price inflation dataset Table 6) do not include the Climate Change Levy (CCL). This is because each industry can, in practice, pay its own rate for the various forms of energy, depending on the various negotiated discounts and exemptions that apply.

Coronavirus and survey response rates

As highlighted in Section 2: Things you need to know about this release, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted on response rates in this release and is likely to be a factor in reduced response for future releases.

Table 6 shows the response rates to the domestic (PPI), export (Export Price Index (EPI)) and import (Import Price Index (IPI)) price surveys at time of publishing for each reference period. Response rates were lower in April, May and June 2020 compared with other months. While the response rates for the EPI and IPI show a small improvement in June 2020 compared with May 2020, response rates for the main PPI domestic survey have fallen compared with May 2020 and are around 14 percentage points lower than historical levels.

The administrative data used as part of the PPI has largely been unaffected by the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown, with the exception of some food items whose prices are collected by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). The coronavirus pandemic has caused unusual patterns of both supply and demand at horticultural markets, where Defra collects food prices for the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Some Defra price data are, therefore, based on small sample numbers as a result of reduced trade volumes.

The fall in response rates in June 2020 is unlikely to have had a substantial impact on the headline PPI figures. However, the smaller sample sizes are likely to have increased volatility for some of the lower-level indices, particularly among IPIs and EPIs. Revisions are also likely to be larger than usual over the next few months.

Producer prices are normally imputed for non-response by using ratio imputation. The ratio imputation method calculates the growth within an index based on prices that have been returned and then applies it to the last known value for the missing price. This method ensures that if prices for a group of products increase (decrease) from one month to the next, the imputed values for non-respondents in that product group will also increase (decrease) when compared with the last known value.

In a small number of cases, prices may be manually imputed by directly using the latest available price from the latest available period. This method is applied when the nature of the product or previous information from respondents indicate that a price change is unlikely (that is, long-term contracts and fixed listing prices).

These are simple but effective methods, used as a standard internationally and recommended by international organisations specifically for treatment of missing producer prices because of the coronavirus pandemic (PDF, 52KB).

Links to additional ONS sources of coronavirus information

Various articles have been published that help describe the ONS’s response to how the coronavirus might be seen in our estimates:

Our latest data and analysis on the impact of the coronavirus on the UK economy and population are also available.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has released a public statement on the coronavirus and the production of statistics, and any specific queries on this can be directed to the Media Relations Office.

After EU withdrawal

As the UK leaves the EU, it is important that our statistics continue to be of high quality and are internationally comparable. During the transition period, those UK statistics that align with EU practice and rules will continue to do so in the same way as before 31 January 2020.

After the transition period, we will continue to produce our inflation statistics in line with the UK Statistics Authority’s Code of Practice for Statistics and in accordance with internationally agreed statistical guidance and standards.

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Contact details for this Statistical bulletin

Emelia D'Silva-Parker
business.prices@ons.gov.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)1633 456907