Bonds rally as US prices remain flat

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The Independent Online
FIGURES in the US yesterday pointed to steady prices in the economy, sparking a sharp rally in bond and share prices but failing to dent expectations that short-term rates are set to rise, writes Peter Torday.

The rally came after the US producer price index, a measure of price changes at the wholesale level, fell 0.1 per cent in April and was 0.4 per cent below its level a year earlier. Excluding volatile prices for food and energy, prices rose by 0.1 per cent during April, the third successive month that wholesale prices have been virtually flat on this basis.

Retail sales fell unexpectedly in April, contracting by 0.8 per cent. But an earlier increase in March was revised up sharply and, together with recent evidence of strong growth in employment, still suggests robust expansion.

Yields on US Treasury bonds tumbled to 7.52 per cent from 7.64 per cent. But a more durable rally will have to await today's consumer price index for April for further confirmation that inflation was convalescing last month.