(CN) — Wholesale prices increased 0.3 percent in March, the increase driven higher by the largest increase in food costs in nearly four years, the Labor Department said Tuesday.
The producer price index measures inflation pressures before they reach the consumer.
The rise in the index in March followed a 0.2 percent rise in February and a 0.4 percent jump in January.
By far the biggest increase in March was in food prices, which rose 2.2 percent — the largest increase since April 2014.
This jump was somewhat offset by declines in the price of energy, which fell 2.1 percent, led by a marked decline in gasoline prices, which dropped 3.7 percent.
The marked decline in gasoline prices was the largest monthly drop since May 2017.
Over the past 12 months, wholesale prices have risen 3 percent, the fastest annual pace since last November and another sign that inflation pressures have started to increase.
Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, was up 0.3 percent in March, and 2.7 percent over the past 12 months.