U.S. inflation stays hot, retail sales cool

Inflation continued to heat up last month with producer prices surging at their fastest year-over-year rate in at least a decade.

For the 12 months through May, prices at the business level soared 6.6 percent, according to data released Tuesday by the Labor Department.

On a month-to-month basis, the gain came in at a stronger-than-expected 0.8 percent, with prices higher across the board.

This is the latest knock-your-socks off inflation reading in recent months.

Data released last week showed the biggest year-over-year jump in consumer prices in nearly 13 years.

This will certainly be considered as the Federal Reserve kicked-off its two-day meeting on Tuesday.

Some economists worry that unprecedented assistance provided by the Fed, combined with trillions of dollars in stimulus from the federal government, which both helped the economy rebound from the healthy crisis, are now causing an upward spiral in inflation.

The Fed disagrees. Fed chief Jerome Powell has repeatedly described this wave of inflation as "transitory" and tied largely to the reopening of the economy.

Prices have also been rising as demand outstrips supply - leading to a number of manufacturing bottlenecks.

Demand did cool off though on the consumer level in recent weeks with stimulus dollars already spent up.

Retail sales dropped more than expected in May, down 1.3 percent, according to separate data released on Tuesday.

The decline was led by lower auto sales, as well as a rotation away from buying things, as the growing number of vaccinated Americans chose to spend their money on travel and other leisure activities.

The Federal Reserve is keen on allowing the economic benefits of the recovery to spread broadly… And is not expected to announce a policy change when its meetings conclude on Wednesday.

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