Producer Prices Increased Slightly in February

In this Sept. 4, 2018, file photo, sprinklers run as a farmworker walks through a broccoli field in Salinas, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

(CN) – Wholesale prices edged up just 0.1 percent last month after falling for three months, indicating a low level of inflation pressure in the economy.

The Labor Department’s producer price index, which measures costs before goods reach consumers, barely increased in February after recent drops driven by lower gas prices, the government said Wednesday. 

Wholesale prices increased 1.9 compared with a year earlier. Not counting the always volatile food and energy categories, core wholesale prices rose also rose 0.1 percent last month. 

The slight uptick was caused by rising gas prices, airfare and hotel costs. Food costs for producers fell 0.3 percent.

On Tuesday, the Labor Department reported that the consumer price index rose a modest 0.2 percent in February, another sign that inflation is tame despite low unemployment and rising wages. 

Consumer prices are up only 1.5 percent from a year ago.

With low inflation pressure, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has said the central bank can be “patient” with raising interest rates this year.

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