A spike in energy costs pushed up the main measure of wholesale inflation by 0.7% in March, the U.S. government reported April 20, while core prices, excluding food and energy, rose a modest 0.1%. The rise in the producer price index was the biggest since November 2004, and was higher than the average forecast of private economists of a 0.6% rise.
But the core PPI was lower than the expected 0.2% increase. The PPI is now up 4.9 %in the past 12 months. The core rate is up 2.6%.
Energy was the main culprit in March, with prices rising 3.3%, the largest gain since October. Wholesale gasoline prices jumped 5.3%, home heating oil prices rose 15.7% and residential natural-gas prices rose 2.3%t.
Inflation was also seen further back in the production cycle. Prices of intermediate goods destined for further processing increased 1% and crude goods prices increased 4.3%.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2005