US wholesale prices up 0.3 percent in March

US wholesale prices up 0.3 percent in March
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. wholesale prices increased 0.3 percent in March, driven higher by the largest increase in food costs in nearly four years.

The Labor Department said Tuesday that the March gain in the producer price index, which measures inflation pressures before they reach the consumer, followed a 0.2 percent rise in February and a 0.4 percent jump in January.

Food prices at the wholesale level surged 2.2 percent, the biggest increase since April 2014, with many categories showing gains. Energy costs, however, fell 2.1 percent as gasoline prices dropped 3.7 percent, the largest monthly decline since last May.

Over the past 12 months, wholesale prices have risen 3 percent, the fastest annual pace since last November and another sign that inflation pressures have started to increase after years of being dormant.

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