Producer Prices Rise Modestly in April


U.S. producer prices rose in April as energy prices increased, but a marginal gain in the cost of services pointed to a moderate increase in inflation in the coming months.

The Labor Department said on Friday its producer price index climbed 0.2 percent last month after slipping 0.1 percent in March. In the 12 months through April, the PPI was unchanged after dipping 0.1 percent in March.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the PPI gaining 0.3 percent last month and rising 0.2 percent from a year ago.

Inflation continues to be restrained by the lingering effects of the dollar's surge and oil price plunge. The greenback gained 20 percent against the currencies of the United States' trading partners between June 2014 and December 2015.

The dollar has this year dropped 2.5 percent on a trade-weighted basis and oil has bounced off multi-year lows.

Last month, energy prices increased 0.2 percent after increasing 1.8 percent in March. Wholesale food prices fell 0.3 percent following a 0.9 percent drop in March. Wholesale chicken eggs tumbled 33.9 percent in April.

Prices for services edged up 0.1 percent after slipping 0.2 percent in March.

A key measure of underlying producer price pressures that excludes food, energy and trade services rose 0.3 percent last month after being unchanged in March. The so-called core PPI was up 0.9 percent in the 12 months through April after a similar increase in March.

(Reporting By Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Andrea Ricci)