Almost entirely due to rising prices for energy products, U.S. wholesale prices rose for the second consecutive month in May,the Labor Department said on June 16.
The 0.2% rise was lower than expected by Wall Street economists, who had forecast the producer price index for finished goods to rise by 0.6%.
The Labor Department said the May figure followed the index's 0.3% rise in April and a decline of 1.2% in March.
On a 12-month basis, finished goods prices fell 5% from May 2008, the largest annual decline since August 1949.
When food and energy prices were excluded for May, core wholesale prices fell slightly, by 0.1%, marking the first decline since October 2006.
"The core rate has only been rising a bit, but with the extreme weakness in demand in the industrial sector, it was only a matter of time for a decline to be posted," said Briefing.com's Patrick O'Hare. Considering that the core rate was up 0.1% in April and flat in March, "it is thus net zero over the past three months," he said. "This reflects weak demand but is not so weak as to raise deflationary concerns." .
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009