Wholesale Inflation Rises 0.3%

Taking out food and energy, the January producer price index rose 0.4%.
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Wholesale inflation grew at a faster pace than economists were expecting last month, and the core index, which excludes food and energy prices, rose the most in a year.

The Labor Department said Friday that the producer price index was up 0.3% last month, ahead of economists expectations for a 0.2% increase. The core PPI rose 0.4%, twice the 0.2% forecast.

Among finished goods, prices for energy were unchanged in January, following a 2% rise in December, the Labor Department said. The gasoline index dropped 3.5% after a 7.2% gain in the previous month.

Prices for liquefied petroleum gas, home heating oil and diesel fuel also declined after rising in December, the government said. The residential electric power component of the PPI increased 3% in January.

Ian Shepherdson, chief U.S. economist for High Frequency Economics, said in an emailed statement that the headline number was held back by energy prices, where there was "significant variation but no overall change." He also said that "PPI is no threat to price stability."