Producer Prices Increase Faster Than Expected

Driven by the higher cost of energy, the U.S. Labor Department's Producer Price Index (PPI) for finished goods, a key measure of inflation, increased nine-tenths of a percentage point in April, slightly above the eight-tenths percent increase economists generally expected.

In March the index for finished goods increased half a percentage point; in February it fell 1.4%.

However, the so-called core PPI for finished goods, which excludes month-to-month price changes for food and fuel, increased just a tenth of a percentage point in April, matching March's increase as the smallest of this year. That's important because in determining interest-rate policy the Federal Reserve looks closely at the core figure.

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