Inflation Pressures Heat Up Even in Services

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There is still the theme that some of it is just temporary.

Big parts of the services sector – such as restaurants, entertainment, lodging, and travel – have been hit hard during this crisis. Other parts of the services industries – such as real estate, services related to eCommerce, transportation services, video games, streaming services, etc. – have boomed. And other segments in services have muddled through. Services account for nearly 70% of the economy. Despite the decline in overall demand for services, inflation pressures are heating up – both in terms of prices paid by service firms, and the prices they charge their customers, according to two measures for these price pressures in January.

Across the US service sector, “cost burdens soared once again, with the rate of input price inflation the fastest since the survey began in 2009, according to the IHS Markit U.S. Services PMI this morning. “And the rate of increase has now accelerated for three successive months,” it said.

“Firms largely passed on higher costs to clients through a marked rise in charges,” it said, meaning that the resistance to higher prices appears to have faded, and companies get away with raising prices without losing customers.

“Service providers recorded a steep increase in selling prices during January,” it said amid “strong client demand and a spike in input prices.”

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This article first appeared on Wolfstreet.com on February 3, 2021. 

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