U.S. Producer Prices Rose in October

By Sharon Nunn and Sarah ChaneyFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

A gauge of U.S. business prices rose at a steady pace in October, a sign that inflation pressures are building.

The producer-price index, a measure of inflation experienced by businesses, increased 0.4% in October from a month earlier, the Labor Department said Tuesday.

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When excluding the more volatile food and energy parts of the measure, so-called core prices were also up 0.4% in October.

October's overall producer-price index increase was largely driven by a spike in trade services, which was up 1.1% from a month earlier, a Labor Department economist said.

Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected a 0.1% gain in overall producer prices and a 0.2% in core prices.

From a year earlier, overall prices grew 2.8%, the largest increase since a 2.8% rise in February 2012. Core prices rose 2.4%.

Rising oil prices and increasing global demand have helped push the index higher this year. Producer prices advanced in September year over year by the biggest amount since the year ended February 2012.

The producer prices measure tracks the same trends as other major inflation gauges, though it does not always translate into what consumers pay.

The Federal Reserve is closely monitoring inflation as it considers another increase in short-term interest rates by the end of the year. But inflation has continued to undershoot the Fed's targets, with other inflation-related readings coming in weak, despite a tight labor market and strong economic growth. This could pose an obstacle to the Fed's interest-rate plans.

The Labor Department's producer price index report can be accessed at: http://www.bls.gov/ppi

Write to Sharon Nunn at sharon.nunn@wsj.com and Sarah Chaney at sarah.chaney@wsj.com.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 14, 2017 08:48 ET (13:48 GMT)