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Inflation on the wholesale level spiked in October, thanks partly to a surge in gasoline prices.

The government Tuesday said its producer price index rose 1.7%. Economists were expecting an increase of 0.6%, after a 0.1% gain in September. Excluding the impact of food and energy, prices rose 0.3%, matching September's increase, but three times the expectation of the Street.

Prices for energy goods turned up 6.8%. Prices for gasoline, for instance, climbed17.3%. Food prices rose 1.6%.

The unexpected jump in the PPI may influence the

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thinking on interest rate policy in the months ahead, after several months of moderating, if not minimal, inflation. The central bank last week raised interest rates a quarter of a percentage point for the fourth time since late June, taking the federal funds rate up to 2%.