(CN) – Rising energy costs pushed wholesale prices 0.4 percent higher in September, the sharpest increase in six months, the Labor Department said Thursday.
The producer price index — a key measure of industrial inflation — is a measure of the average change over time in the wholesale prices charged by domestic producers of goods and services.
The latest increase comes after a 0.2 percent rise in August. In the 12 months through September, the PPI rose 2.6 percent.
That’s the biggest 12-month gain since February, and is up 0.2 percent from the 12-month period ending in August.
The Labor Department said wholesale gas prices soared 10.9 percent in September after a 9.5 percent increase in August — the largest jump since May 2015.
The energy spike accounted for two-thirds of the 0.7 percent rise in the price of goods.
The department attributed the jump to “reduce refining capacity in the Gulf Coast area due to Hurricane Harvey.”
The Federal Reserve closely monitors the producer price index to determine whether to raise its key short-term interest rate. That rate, in turn, influences the supply of money in the economy.
The Fed raised its short-term interest rate in March and June, and a third increase is expected when Federal Reserve officials meet in December.