Producer price inflation, UK: November 2019

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).

This is not the latest release. View latest release

This is an accredited national statistic.

Contact:
Email Martina Portanti

Release date:
18 December 2019

Next release:
15 January 2020

1. Main points

  • The headline rate of output inflation for goods leaving the factory gate was 0.5% on the year to November 2019, down from 0.8% in October 2019.

  • The growth rate of prices for materials and fuels used in the manufacturing process was negative 2.7% on the year to November 2019, up from negative 5.0% in October 2019.

  • Tobacco and alcohol made the largest downward 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.

Back to table of contents

2. Things you need to know about this release

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has published its response to the public consultation to collect users’ views on possible changes to the level of detail published in the Producer Price Indices (PPI).

We remind users of the planned changes to our PPI headline figure from net to gross in line with international best practice. In order to support users with the transition to the new headline definition, Section 6 includes a comparison between the existing measures of output and input PPI on a net and on a gross basis.

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, or 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 within the domestic market. It is not limited to materials used in the final product, but 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, 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 Producer Price Index (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 PPI.

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.

Back to table of contents

3. Producer price inflation summary

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

Back to table of contents

4. Annual output inflation continues to slow, reaching its lowest rate since July 2016

The annual rate of inflation for goods leaving the factory gate (output prices) slowed from 0.8% in October 2019 to 0.5% in November 2019 (Table 1). Despite slowing for the fourth consecutive month, the annual rate has now remained positive for 41 consecutive months, last showing negative growth in June 2016.

The monthly rate of output inflation was negative 0.2% in November 2019, which is down 0.1 percentage points from October 2019. The monthly rate has now been negative for three consecutive months. This is the most prolonged period of negative growth since January 2016, when the monthly rate had been negative for seven consecutive months.

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.

Eight of the ten product groups provided positive but small contributions to the output annual rate.

Computer, electrical and optical products provided the largest upward contribution of 0.21 percentage points to the annual rate (Figure 2), with price growth of 1.9% on the year to November 2019 (Table 2). This industry has now displayed positive annual growth since June 2016.

Transport equipment displayed a similar upward contribution of 0.19 percentage points to the annual rate, with annual growth of 1.6% in November 2019.

Petroleum products and chemicals and pharmaceuticals were the only product groups to provide negative contributions to the annual rate, at 0.39 and 0.11 percentage points respectively. These two industries have provided negative contributions to the annual rate for the last five months, driving the slowdown of the overall rate of output annual inflation.

Six product groups provided a negative contribution to the monthly rate of output inflation, the largest coming from petroleum at 0.10 percentage points which was driven by a monthly price fall of 1.2%.

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

There was a 0.3 percentage point decrease in the annual rate for output prices, from 0.8% in October 2019 to 0.5% in November 2019. Eight of the ten product groups displayed downward contributions to the change in the rate, with tobacco and alcohol providing the largest downward contribution, at 0.17 percentage points (Figure 3). Despite showing no movement between October 2019 and November 2019, tobacco and alcohol increased 1.5% between the same period last year because of the rise in Tobacco Duty introduced in November 2018. As a result, the annual growth of tobacco and alcohol has slowed, from 2.3% in October 2019 to 0.8% in November 2019.

Food products, and clothing, textile and leather products provided the second largest downward contributions to the change in the rate, both at 0.06 percentage points.

Petroleum products provided the largest upward contribution to the change in the rate, at 0.13 percentage points. Chemicals and pharmaceuticals made a smaller upward contribution of 0.01 percentage points.

Back to table of contents

5. Annual and monthly input inflation rates continue to display negative growth

The annual rate of inflation for materials and fuels purchased by manufacturers (input prices) was negative 2.7% in November 2019, up from negative 5.0% in October 2019. This is the fourth consecutive month in which the rate has been negative, following 37 consecutive months of positive annual growth from July 2016 to July 2019. Prior to this, the rate had been negative for 32 consecutive months from November 2013 to June 2016.

The monthly rate for materials and fuels purchased rose from negative 1.1% in October 2019 to negative 0.3% in November 2019 (Table 3). The monthly rate has also been negative for four consecutive months, which is the most prolonged period since it was negative for four successive months between March 2017 and June 2017.

The annual rate of inflation for imported materials and fuels was negative 2.3% in November 2019 (Table 4), which is up 1.4 percentage points from October 2019 when it was negative 3.7%. This is the third consecutive month that the annual rate has been negative, but the first time the rate has picked up since July 2019. The monthly rate rose from negative 1.9% in October 2019 to negative 0.7% in November 2019. 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) grew by 1.7% on the month to 79.6 in November 2019. This is the highest the index value has been since March 2019. On the year, the ERI also displayed growth of 1.7% in November 2019. This is the first time since March 2019 that the annual rate has been positive (source: Bank of England).

All else being equal, a stronger sterling effective exchange rate will lead to less expensive inputs of imported materials and fuels.

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.

Four of the nine product groups provided negative contributions to the input annual rate.

The largest downward contribution to the annual rate in November 2019 came from crude oil, which contributed 1.75 percentage points (Figure 4) and had negative annual price growth of 9.7% (Table 5). This downward contribution was driven by imported crude petroleum and natural gas. Crude oil has now displayed negative annual growth for seven consecutive months.

The average price for world crude oil was US $60 per barrel in November 2019 which is 5.5% higher than last month, but 3.1% lower than a year ago (source: World Bank). This is the 12th consecutive month that the annual rate of world crude oil has been negative.

Home food materials provided the second-largest downward contribution to the annual rate at 1.03 percentage points, with negative price growth of 7.2%. This was driven by domestic products used in the crop and animal production; hunting and related service activities, which had negative growth of 7.5% on the year and continues five months of negative growth.

The largest upward contribution to the annual rate came from imported metals, with a contribution of 0.64 percentage points and price growth of 7.8%.

On the month, imported chemicals provided the largest downward contribution of 0.32 percentage points, with prices falling 1.9%.

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

There was a 2.3 percentage point increase in the annual rate for input prices, from negative 5.0% in October 2019 to negative 2.7% in November 2019. Despite this, only three out of the nine product groups displayed upward contributions to the change in the rate. Crude oil provided the largest upward contribution, at 2.67 percentage points. Despite falling 0.3% between October 2019 and November 2019, crude oil fell by 13.7% between the same period last year. As a result, the annual growth of crude oil has picked up, from negative 21.8% in October 2019 to negative 9.7% in November 2019.

Fuel and home food materials provided smaller upward contributions to the change in the rate, at 0.21 and 0.07 percentage points respectively.

Imported chemicals provided the largest downward contribution to the change in the rate, at 0.28 percentage points.

Back to table of contents

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 early in 2020, in line with international best practice.

Figure 6 shows net and gross output producer price indices (PPI) over the past 10 years. In November 2019, the net output PPI was 115.8 while the gross output excluding duty PPI was 116.6.

As shown in Figure 7, gross and net sector output indices display similar trends over time, although the gross indices show higher volatility, particularly at times of high inflation, either positive or negative. For net output PPI, the annual growth was 0.5% in November 2019, down from 0.8% in October 2019. For gross output excluding duty PPI, the annual growth in November 2019 was negative 0.1%, which is unchanged from October 2019.

Figure 8 shows net and gross input PPI over the past 10 years. The trends of the indices are similar, although the net input PPI appears more volatile than the gross input PPI. In November 2019, the net input PPI was 114.9 while the gross input PPI was 115.1.

Figure 9 also shows that the annual growth rates for net input PPI are more volatile than for gross input PPI. For net input PPI, the annual growth was negative 2.7% in November 2019, up from negative 5.0% in October 2019. For gross input PPI, the annual growth in November 2019 was negative 1.3%, up from negative 1.7% in October 2019.

Back to table of contents

8. Quality and methodology

The Producer price indices (PPI) QMI report contains important information on:

  • the strengths and limitations of the data and how it compares with related data

  • uses and users of the data

  • how the output was created

  • the quality of the output including the accuracy of the data

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 during the period January 2017 to 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 PPI, including the import and export index, is now available. PPI methods and guidance (PDF, 1.18MB) provides an outline of the methods used to produce the PPI as well as information about recent PPI developments.

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

The detailed input indices of prices of materials and fuels purchased by industry (PPI 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.

Back to table of contents