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

Fed's

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%.