Wholesale inflation in the U.S. rose at a quicker pace than expected last month as energy prices advanced 2.5%. The Labor Department said Wednesday that the producer price index for December climbed 0.9%, while the core rate, which excludes food and energy prices, was up 0.2%. On average, economists polled by Bloomberg were looking for a 0.5% increase in the overall PPI and a 0.1% uptick in the core index. Year over year, prices paid were up 1.1%. The core increase was 2%. Wall Street watches the PPI report to help it gauge what the Federal Reserve will do on interest rates. However, even more important inflation data is coming Thursday, when the consumer price index will be released.