March Producer Prices Rise 0.2%, First Gain Since October

U.S. producer prices rose a seasonally adjusted 0.2% in March after four straight monthly declines, the Labor Department said Tuesday. Economists polled by MarketWatch had predicted a 0.3% rise in the PPI. Excluding the volatile categories of trade margins, food and energy, core wholesale prices rose 0.2%. The wholesale cost of goods rose 0.3% after eight straight monthly declines, led by higher energy prices. The index for services inched up 0.1% in March. Over the past year, overall producer prices fell 0.8%, the largest decline since the series was revamped in 2009. After hitting 2.1% last May, the 12-month rate of wholesale inflation has plunged led by lower energy prices. Core inflation excluding food, energy and trade is up 0.8% over the past year.

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